Richard Gillespie – Mediterranean Politics

The Bulgarians in their turn wanted to exploit the dense presence of Slavonic-Speakers all over Macedonia to support their own irredentist aspirations in the region. A leading part in achieving their national goals was to be played by the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (IMRO) and the Bulgarian presence and influence throughout Macedonia, particularly in the controversial middle linguistic zone, was considerably strengthened by means of education and the Exarchal Church. This combination was regarded as the best counterweigtht to the Greek Patriarchal influence in the region, in an effort to offset the losses inflicted by the treaty of Berlin. The chief aim of the Bulgarian strategy was to awaken the notion of self-defence in the Bulgarian-speaking population of Macedonia and Thrace, which would urge them to demand and achieve a degree of political autonomy within the Ottoman empirel subsequently they could be annexed by Bulgaria.

Mediterranean Politics By Richard Gillespie, page 88

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