Page 592 - Kosovo Metohija Heritage
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Dušan T. Bataković
“Macedonian Vilayets” (1903–1908). Within this interna- tional effort comprising gendarmerie from most europe- an Powers, only the Serb-inhabited areas of the Vilayet of Kosovo were excluded from the reform project as a re- sult of Vienna’s adamant demand.107
Liberation from the Ottomans
With the First Balkan War (1912) the tide turned. a series of albanian rebellions (1910–12) had precipitated the formation of a Balkan alliance (Greece, Serbia, Bul- garia, Montenegro), which, motivated by the deteriorat- ing status of the entire Christian population in european Vilayets, declared war on the Ottomans. Prior to the war, Serbian Prime Minister Nikola Pašić offered the albanian leaders an “accord on the union of Serbs and albanians in the Vilayet of Kosovo”, whereby ethnic albanians were offered, within the Kingdom of Serbia, religious freedom, the use of the albanian language in albanian municipal schools and administration, preservation of the albanian common law and, finally, an albanian legislative body in charge of religious, judicial and educational affairs. at the huge gathering held in Skoplje on 10 October (and sub- sequently in Priština and Debar), the albanians opted for armed defence of their Ottoman fatherland, and for us- ing the arms obtained from Serbia against Serbia.108
Kosovo albanians were supplied with 63,000 rifles from the Ottomans alone to organize full-scale resistance against the Serbian troops. and yet, no more 16,000 Muslim al- banians of Kosovo came to the frontline to face the Ser- bian army. The Serbian artillery scattered albanian irregu- lar (bashibozuk) units without encountering any serious resistance. Having been soundly defeated the albanian chieftains Bairam Curri, Riza Bey and isa Bolletini fled to Malissia in northern albania. Oskar Prochaska, Consul of austria–Hungary in Prizren, tried in vain to incite al- banians to resist the Serbian troops.109 Whilst most of Mus- lim albanians remained hostile, Christian Serbs in all of Kosovo and Metohija greeted the Serbian and Montene- grin armies with exhilaration.
The first Serb soldier to enter liberated Priština was the famous poet and former Serbian consul in Priština Milan M. Rakić, who had joined the army as a volunteer. after
107 For more, see Milan G. Miloievitch, La Turquie d’Europe et le problème de la Macédoine et de la Vieille Serbie (Paris: arthur Rous- seau, 1905).
108 Djordje Mikic, “The albanians and Serbia during the Balkan Wars” in Bela Kiraly & Dimitrije Djordjević, eds., East Central Euro- pean Society and the Balkan Wars, War and Society in east Central europe, vol. XViii (Social Science Monographs, Boulder Columbia University Press New York, 1987), 165–196. elaborated in Dj. Dj. Stan- ković, “’Nikola Pašić i stvaranje albanske države”, Marksistička misao 3 (1985), 157–169.
109 john D. Treadway, The Falcon and the Eagle Montenegro and Austria–Hungary, 1908–1914 (West Lafayette: Purdue University Press, 1983), 121.
the liberation of Priština (22 October), and the decisive Serbian victory over the considerably stronger Ottoman troops at Kumanovo (23–24 October), the war was over in both Old Serbia and Slavic-inhabited Macedonia.
The Third Serbian army, led by General Božidar jan- ković, later known as “the avenger of Kosovo” for liberat- ing the most of Kosovo proper, attended the solemn lit- urgy at the Monastery of Gračanica celebrating the cen- turies-awaited liberation of Kosovo.110 The military au- thorities issued proclamations in Priština and other towns calling albanians to put down and surrender their arms. even in the traditional hotbed of outlaws, Drenica, and in the Peć area Muslim albanians eventually accepted par- tial if not full disarmament. However, as a result of anti- Serbian agitation by tribal leaders many albanians fled and took shelter in the mountains. Serbian officers kept reassuring the albanian population that Serbia is at war against the Ottomans, not against them. Serbia quickly es- tablished civil administration in the newly-liberated ar- eas. Kosovo became part of the Lab, Priština and Prizren districts. Montenegro reorganized liberated Metohija into the Peć and Djakovica districts.111
The London Treaty of 30 May 1913 fixed the borders of Serbia, Montenegro and newly-established albania, with the exception of some disputed portions left to an inter- national Commission to decide on subsequently. Both Kosovo and Slav-inhabited Macedonia were officially in- corporated into Serbia on 7 September 1913 by a solemn proclamation of the National assembly of the Kingdom of Serbia, while most of Metohija was integrated into the Kingdom of Montenegro by a similar decision.
in late july 1914, two days before Vienna declared war on Serbia, austro–Hungarian consular officials in alba- nia were instructed to provide full financial and military support to an albanian insurrection in Serbian territory. The Muslim albanian leaders of Kosovo in exile Bairam Curri, Hasan Prishtina and isa Bolletini obtained signifi- cant financial support as well as arms and ammunition supplies from austro–Hungarian consuls in order to pre- pare armed incursions which would instigate a full-scale albanian rebellion in the Serb-held territories of Meto- hija, Kosovo and north-western Macedonia, inhabited by a mixed Muslim albanian and Christian Serb and Slavic population.112
in Constantinople, an agreement was concluded be- tween the Hapsburgs and the Ottomans: austria–Hun- gary was to incite and finance the albanian rebellion, while the Young Turks were to be responsible for propaganda, military organization and operations. incursions into the
111 Prvi balkanski rat, 416–417, 464–469; for more, see Mikić, “albanians and Serbia”, 163–166.
112 More detail in andrej Mitrović, Serbia’s Great War (London: Hurst & Co, 2007).
elezi Han, one of the smaller towns, was renamed after him to Djeneral janković. it now is on the border with the FYROM.

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