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A Pomak from Bulgaria took part in the Greek Revolution

25 March 2014 / 15:03:00  GRReporter
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A Pomak from Bulgaria participated in the heroic epos of the Greek War of Independence in 1821, according to the website of the Greek Pomak Research Centre zagalisa.gr. The numerous anonymous participants in the various battles involved Muslims too and Mehmed Lovchali from the region of Lovech was one of them.

"It is known that after the conquest of the Balkan Peninsula the Ottoman Empire carried out a forced mobilization of Pomaks in its army. In the 19th century, older Pomaks expressed pity for the fact that the new generations were losing their historical memory in the barracks around Istanbul, where they were subjected to ideological propaganda. Very often small detachments consisted only of Pomaks," reads the publication.

This practice continued during the Greek War of Independence when the Ottoman Empire sent Pomaks as members of its army to the rebellious territories of Greece. "But, as we learn from the records of the first Governor of Greece Ioannis Kapodistrias, a large number of Pomaks left the Ottoman army and passed into the ranks of the Greeks, as they could not stand the oppression on the part of the Turkish officers. Thus they took part in the liberation struggle of the Greeks."

One of them was Mehmed Lovchali. He himself said that he was a soldier in the Ottoman army in Athens along with other Pomaks but, as he could not endure the cruel orders and the difficult conditions, he sided with the Greeks in the detachment of chiliarch Vassos and became his groom. When Vassos retired, Mehmed Lovchali remained without a leader and wrote a letter to the administration, requesting to be admitted as a soldier in the regular army or to join the armed groups of the rebels in order to participate in the liberation of Greece.

The website refers to Bulgarian historian Nikolai Todorov, who claims that there were other Pomaks, who fought with the Greek revolutionaries against the Ottoman troops and whose names appear in the Greek government records.

zagalisa.gr indicates that there were other Muslims, such as Albanians, who sided with the Greeks. Typical examples were Gika Mustafa who took part in battles along with Odysseas Androutsos, Shuman and Jaffer, who took part in the siege of Tripolitsa (today the city of Tripoli in the Peloponnese – editor’s note) and many more.

Tags: HistoryGreek War of IndependencePomakMehmed LovchaliOttoman Empire
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