Macedonia marks 114 years since the betrayal and killing of Goce Delcev


Macedonia marks 114 years since the death of Goce Delcev, the main leader of the Macedonian national liberation movement VMRO. Delcev was betrayed in the period ahead of the August 1903 Ilinden Uprising, while he was staying with his personal guard unit in the village of Banica near his native city of Kukush.

After a battle with the Ottoman Turkish forces, Delcev ordered his men out of the village to spare the civilians, and was killed in combat. Born in 1872, he studied in Solun (Thessaloniki) and at the Sofia Military Academy, before becoming a leading organizer of the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization (VMRO). He lobbied tirelessly for domestic and international support to create an independent state on the territory of the Ottoman province of Macedonia, at a time when other provinces of the Empire were also becoming independent or joining the newly established Balkan countries.

It is believed that arguments over the decision whether to start a large uprising to liberate Macedonia from the Ottoman Empire were the main reason for his betrayal and killing. The debate was on whether resistance should be held through more intense guerrilla actions, an option Delcev favored, or by taking over a piece of territory and challenging the Ottomans for a set piece battle. Months after his death the Ilinden Uprising led to the declaration a the short lived Krusevo Republic.

Government officials will visit his grave at the St. Spas church in Skopje where his mortal remains were interred in 1946, given to Macedonia by the Government of Bulgaria, where they were kept.

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