5004 - The Congress of Berlin as a topostrategic battle

N. Lygeros
Translation: Paola Vagioni

The Congress of Berlin of 1878 was not just the end of the Russo-Turkish war or the revision of San Stefano as far as Bulgaria is concerned, but also a topostrategic battle. Of course, we do not claim that the Congress of Berlin happened in this framework, because it would be an anachronism. But the same applies to geostrategy too, while it is clear that mental geostrategic schemas operated in these negotiations. The reasons do not explain everything, especially when they are exploited as pretexts and afterwards as stratagems for the achievement of goals. Panslavism is a framework, but the catalytic element is the slaughter of 15000 Bulgarians by the Bachi-bouzouk Turks in 1876, for which Victor Hugo had intensely protested. There is of course the crisis in Constantinople. Abdulhamid II is the successor of Abdulaziz. The war of Serbia, Russia’s ultimatum and Constantinople: all these are historical events, known to all. Geostrategically, the Ottoman Empire does not only want to have access to Europe but also for a European Turkey to exist. This has a topostrategic consequence which materializes with the notion of the arc. The Sultan operates strategically and the change is nothing but an extreme reinforcement of the same policy. The arc exists therefore, and it has repercussions even today, even broken. Within the panslavic framework, Russia is the attractor, while the framework is a basin of attraction. Topologically, Turkey has the capacity of cohesion. Yet the Treaty of San Stefano threatened this capacity. Thus, for a first time a topological need appears. The intersection creates a HEX type game, where it is proven that a draw does not exist. The sole aim of Turkey is to acquire again the capacity of cohesion, in order to maintain its dynamic influence. For this reason it is determined to even lose Cyprus (it will give it to England), Crete (but England explains to it that it is not right) and Romania (to which contemplates of giving independence but England advises the avoidance of this initiative), as it is proven by the telegrams of Alexander Caratheodory. We are used to operate in the framework of the English doctrine when we are talking about access to warm seas and we degenerate the notion of target with the notion of tool. The Congress of Berlin, while it was theoretically the end of a defeat for Turkey, it emerged via the great powers as a reinstatement of cohesion and horizontal victory over verticality. There was a strategic depth for the territorial sacrifices of a geostrategic type to be made and the topostrategic target to be achieved. Russia won the war but lost the last battle which overturned the facts.