HC Deb 26 February 1897 vol 46 cc1264-6
MR. CHANNING (Northampton, E.)

On behalf of the hon. Member for the Eye Division (MR. F. S. STEVENSON), I beg to ask the Under Secretary for Foreign Affairs whether the Foreign Vice Consuls at Retimo have sent a dispatch to the Consuls at Canea to the effect that the protraction of the present situation would entail grave consequences, that the Turks desire the re-establishment of order, and declare that they are ready to accept annexation to Greece?


No, Sir; no information has been received to that effect.


I beg to ask the Under Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs whether on Monday and Tuesday last the Turkish cannon on the Suda and Galata side of Akrotiri fired upon the Christian troops, who did not reply for fear of being shelled by the warships of the Powers; and whether a protest has been sent by the Cretan Christian troops to the foreign Admirals complaining of such action?


The following telegram has been received from Her Majesty's Consul at Canea:— No fire has been exchanged between Greek and Turkish troops on the western front since Sunday. On southern front Christians and Mussulmans had some desultory skirmishing. On Monday and Tuesday the insurgents were filing against Suda arsenal, and on Monday and Wednesday against Fort lzzedin. Turks replied with very few rifle shots and two or three shells towards village of Tsikalaria. Statement of newspaper correspondents that Turks fired shells on villages of Korakies Akrotiri without provocation disagrees with information of Colonel Chermside and British Arsenal. I may, perhaps, be allowed at the same time, with reference to many questions which have been asked during the last few days in regard to alleged sallies from Canea, to read the folowing telegram which has also been received from Sir A. Biliotti:— Two companies, about 300 men. Turkish troops garrisoned during last four months Voukoulies to afford protection to the Turkish emigrants, who returned to their village in that commune; their block-house was destroyed by Greek regular artillery; the garrison sallied out at night, but was afterwards surrounded. Major and many killed, over 100 taken prisoners, about 80 found their way back; no sortie was made from Canea in connection with Voukoulies affair; the only offensive operation undertaken by the Turks was driving the insurgents from the heights dominating Halepa on the 14th of February.


Will the right hon. Gentleman state whether the operations in connection with this Turkish fort, which he states is several miles from Canea, were not the operations which led to the cannonading of the insurgent position by the allied fleet?


No, Sir; the hon. Gentleman is quite incorrect in his geography. Voukoulies Fort, about which I have just been reading, is considerably to the west and a little to the south-west of Canea. The operations of the insurgents against which the tiring of the fleets was directed the other day were to the east and a little to the south-east of Canea, many miles from Voukoulies.

SIR E. ASHMEAD-BARTLETT (Sheffield, Ecclesall)

I wish to ask the right hon. Gentleman if he can state whether the 3,000 Mussulmans besieged at Kandanos and Selinos have been relieved, or what is their fate?


I have had no notice of the Question, but as I anticipated that the hon. Gentleman would very legitimately ask it, I have brought the information. We have received the following telegram from the British Admiral:— The armistice at Selinos will last three days longer, till then no danger. Austrian ship gone there, am sending one as soon as can be spared. Have been consulting with colleagues plan of operations with a view of relieving beleaguered Mahomedans in other districts.


On that answer, may I ask whether that applies to the two beleaguered forces at Kandanos and Selinos, as it will he remembered that there were 2,000 Mussulmans in one place and 1,000 in the other?


Yes, Sir. Selinos is a port on the coast from which Kandanos, in the interior, is, as I understand, separated by a range of mountains, and the operations for relief which may be directed on behalf of the one will apply to the other. ["Hear, hear!"]