The Greek Plan or Greek Project is a proposal to smash the Ottoman Empire that the Russian Empress Catherine II and Emperor Joseph II unveiled when he traveled to Russia in 1780 . It proved to be a castle in the air in the Russo-Austrian Turkish War of 1787–1792 .
The main aim of the plan was the restoration of the Byzantine Empire , which fell in 1453, as an independent but closely allied empire with Russia under a grandson of the Tsarina ( Constantine ) or another Romanov prince or a sideline. It should include European Turkey ( Bulgaria , the area of today's Macedonia , Thrace and Greece , possibly also Moldova and Wallachia ) and above all Constantinople .
As early as 1739, the then Tsarina Elisabeth had formulated the conquest of Constantinople as a “holy war goal” of Russia.
Austria had suffered a defeat against the Ottomans in the Russo-Austrian Turkish War (1736–1739) and therefore did not participate in the Russo-Ottoman War (1768–1774) . Instead, Austria concluded an alliance with the Porte in 1771 because of the Russian-Austrian conflict in Poland , but was reconciled with Russia through the first partition of Poland .
Venice withdrew from the Turkish Wars in 1715/18 after a defeat in the Venetian-Austrian Turkish War.
France was a long-time ally of the Ottoman Empire and its main trading partner since 1740.
Division of the Ottoman Empire
Austria and Venice and France were to be won through extensive territorial expansion. Not only were the territories of Bosnia , Serbia and Wallachia, which were lost in 1739, to Austria , but also all of Bosnia, Herzegovina , all of Serbia and Montenegro and Albania . Venice was to receive the Peloponnese, lost in 1718, as well as the islands of Crete and Cyprus . France was to be won by surrendering Egypt and the Levant .
Moldova and Wallachia, the Caucasus and even the north coast of Asia Minor up to and including the straits were to fall to Russia. Further plans envisaged the whole of Asia Minor for Russia.
Failure of the plan
France did not change sides and instead strengthened the Ottoman border fortresses from 1781.
The Austrian military successes were moderate (Turkish invasion of the Banat and Transylvania , only in 1790 the arduous conquest of Belgrade). After the Swedish-Ottoman alliance in 1788, Sweden entered the war. After the Prussian-Ottoman alliance in 1790, Austria finally withdrew from the war under Prussian pressure; Prussia and Austria were also arming for war against revolutionary France. So the plan had failed for the time being. In the Peace of Jassy in 1792, Russia only won the Jedisan region .
A century and a half later, Pan-Slavists took up this goal again. The important Russian thinker Konstantin Leontjew , a student of Nikolai Danilewski , considered a residual Turkish empire and caliphate in southern Anatolia or between Bursa and Baghdad to be possible once Constantinople (Russian: Carigrad ) became the new capital of Russia.
After the outbreak of anti-Turkish uprisings in Herzegovina and Bulgaria and the ensuing Serbian-Ottoman war , Austria-Hungary and Russia again agreed in the Reichstadt Convention in 1876 to divide the Ottoman Balkan provinces into an Austrian and a Russian sphere of influence. Great Britain and Germany also agreed to the occupation of Bosnia by Austria-Hungary and Bulgaria and Romania by Russia. At the meeting in Istanbul and in the Budapest Treaty , Austria-Hungary and Russia also agreed a meridional division of Bulgaria: the western part was to be occupied by Austria and the eastern part by Russian occupation in order to monitor the introduction of autonomy.
In the Russo-Ottoman War (1877-1878) Russia tried to establish at least a Greater Bulgarian Kingdom instead of a restored Greek Empire (King became king with Alexander I , a nephew of the Tsar), which, according to the Peace of San Stefano, extended to the gates of Constantinople should extend while Austria-Hungary occupied Bosnia and Herzegovina. However, the Berlin Congress prevented a Greater Bulgaria, instead a divided Small Bulgaria ( Principality of Bulgaria and the autonomous province of Eastern Rumelia ) was created.
Finally, in 1898, the British Prime Minister Salisbury suggested to Russia a division of the Asian provinces of the Ottoman Empire (and even China): Russia should receive the northern part of Asia Minor, northern Mesopotamia and the straits with Istanbul as its sphere of influence, while Great Britain should have southern Mesopotamia, Egypt and Arabia should. Russia still refused in 1898, but for the next war Russia reserved claims to the Caucasus, Turkish-Armenia and the Dardanelles in supplementary articles to the Franco-British Sykes-Picot Agreement; further plans also included the area of northern Asia Minor Pontus-Greeks and thus again a land connection along the southern coast of the Black Sea .
- Edgar Hösch : The so-called “Greek project” of Catherine II. Ideology and reality of Russian policy towards the Orient in the second half of the 18th century . In: Yearbooks for the History of Eastern Europe , New Volume 12, 1964, pp. 168–206.
- Josef Matuz : The Ottoman Empire. Baseline of its history . Darmstadt 1994
- Alfred Ritter von Arneth (ed.): Maria Theresia and Joseph II., Their correspondence (…) 3rd volume, Vienna 1868, pp. 256–259 (Smolensk, June 14, 1780).