HC Deb 19 March 1877 vol 233 cc107-9

asked the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Whether he can give the House any information concerning an attack which is alleged to have been made last month upon the village of Karatzova, in the Sandjak of Salonica, by a force of Bashi Bazouks from Salonica; whether it is true that the male population were severely beaten, the women outraged, and the community plundered of its entire moveable property; if any communication has been addressed and answer received from Her Majesty's Consul at Salonica on the subject; whether any other reports have been recently received from official or other sources on the internal condition of Bulgaria; whether, if such reports have not been received, Her Majesty's Government have taken steps to obtain accurate and immediate information from that province; and, whether he will lay upon the Table any Despatches which Her Majesty's Consuls may have written with reference to the local measures of relief now being carried out in that district either by the Turkish Government or by private individuals?


In reply, Sir, I have to say that no Reports have been received at the Foreign Office with regard to any outrages at the place mentioned in the Question of the hon. Member. But a Report has been received from the Consul at Salonica with regard to outrages of a very similar character to those described in the Question of the hon. Member which he alleged to have been perpetrated at a village called Kopsotzka, not in Bulgaria, but in Macedonia. Probably that is the occurrence to which the Question of the hon. Member substantially alludes. It appears from the Report, that soldiers were sent in February last to this place, and then outrages very similar to those described are alleged to have taken place. When these outrages came to the knowledge of the Consul at Salonica he made strong representations on the subject, and a Commission was issued, composed of one Mussulman and one Christian, appointed by the Consul. In the meantime, the Governor of Salonica has ordered the arrest of the officer in command of the troops; he has also ordered his trial upon the spot. The strongest possible representations have been made through Mr. Jocelyn and the Consul at Salonica both to the Pashas and to the Porte, and they have said that they will cause justice to be done in the matter. I may state generally that it is the duty of all Consuls and Vice Consuls to report upon the condition of their districts without any special instructions. Reports of this kind are from time to time received by the Embassy, and would naturally be reported in due time to the Foreign Office. I may mention that Her Majesty's Government have made arrange- ments for strengthening the Consular Staff in Bulgaria, and obtaining more direct Reports from that province. As I said the other day, further Papers on the affairs of Turkey are being prepared, and they will contain Reports of the character desired in the Question.