Friday, July 18, 2008

Mr. Karamanlis' Harsh Answer

Sources: ΝΕΤ, ΝΕΤ 105.8, ΑNA-ΜNA

Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis sent his harsh answer to the provocative letter sent a few days before by Skopje Prime Minister Mr. Nikola Gruevski who spoke of the existence of a "Macedonia" minority in Greece. The Prime Minister in his two page letter stresses that there never has been a "Macedonia" minority in Greece..

In this respect, any allegations regarding the existence of such a minority are totally unfounded, politically motivated and disrespectful of the historic realities of the Region.

Mr. Karamanlis also stressed that the letter does not promote negotiations and relations of good neighboring; it raises non-existing and totally unfounded issues which block the efforts of our country, targets at intervening our internal relations and deviates from the goals of the negotiations which are in progress.

Mr. Karamanlis concluded that the future of Balkan countries lies in the European and Euro Atlantic institution and not to national rationales, in an era which has passed by and must stay in the past.

The Content of the Letter

Mr. Prime Minister,

As you are aware for the last fifteen years Greece and your country, pursuant to the relevant decisions of the UN Security Council, have committed themselves to negotiations in the framework of the United Nations regarding the name issue which ?needs to be resolved in the interest of the maintenance of peaceful and good neighbourly relations in the region? as stipulated by the Security Council in Resolution 817.

In the past few weeks the Special Envoy of the United Nations Mr. Matthew Nimetz presented some ideas that could move the negotiations forward. I regret that it is precisely at this critical moment in the negotiating effort that you have chosen to send your letter dated July 10th, 2008.

I take this opportunity to underline Greece’s firm commitment to the promotion of friendly and good relations with all its neighbouring countries, especially with the countries of the Western Balkans, and the creation of the necessary conditions that will allow them to join, in the near future, the Euro-Atlantic and European families.

Greece, since 1993 has demonstrated good will, under the auspices of the U.N., to find a mutually acceptable solution on the name issue, which would take into consideration the legitimate interests and sensitivities of both our countries. This is within the mandate of the relevant U.N. Security Council Resolutions, but also the wish of all countries participating in the Euro-atlantic and European institutions as was also unequivocally stated in the Bucharest NATO Summit and in the EU European Council in Brussels respectively.

Mr. Prime Minister, your letter far from promoting the negotiations and the good neighbourly relations with my country raises a number of non-existent and unsubstantiated issues that militate against the strenuous efforts made by Greece .It also aims at interfering in the domestic affairs of a neighbouring state and deviates from the objectives of the ongoing negotiations.

There is no Macedonian minority in Greece. There never has been. In this respect, any allegations regarding the existence of such a minority are totally unfounded, politically motivated and disrespectful of the historic realities of the Region. As for any properties issue, any individual could make use of any legal recourse before the Courts, including the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Mr. Prime Minister,

Times have changed. I am convinced that the future of the Balkan countries lies within the European and Euroatlantic institutions and not in nationalist formulas of a bygone era which must be left behind once and for all. Greece remains firmly committed to working towards that goal.

History judges leaders by how they rise to the challenge and assume their responsibilities. Much will depend on your positive attitude and constructive spirit».


  1. Hi Akritas,

    In a previous comment you cited the Governorship-General of Macedonia in 1925 (the most biased source possible) who according to you, said there was a 20% minority in Macedonia (80% Greek). I'm assuming Macedonian Slavs being the minority, or at least, part of...

    But the Greek Govt's position has traditionally been that there are NO minorities in Greece and never has been.

    I don't understand.

  2. Greek position as about the minorities all the times following the international and bilateral agreements.

    Lausanne Treaty provides for a Muslim minority in Greece. Its members are free to declare their ethnic origin (Turkish, Pomak and Roma), speak their languages, exercise their religion and observe their particular customs and traditions.

    As about the Slavmacedonians as you know in the past we had problems as about where they belong. Serbs and Bulgarians support that were belong to them.
    League of Nations tried to solve these problems with the establishment of Mixed Committees.

    At the present in a modern European democracy with absolutely free elections, like Greece, political views are judged according to the response they receive from citizens. Slav Macedonian political party took in the last European elections 0,1% (with the collaboration of the OAKKE a ultra communist party). In this particular instance judgement has been passed.

  3. Thanks for the response Akritas.

    So you’re saying the 20% minority were Muslims? Everyone else was Greek?

    Don’t you think if that were true we wouldn’t be having this conversation?

    And if Turks, Muslims are allowed these freedoms you listed, why aren’t Slav-Macedonians? Why is their language banned from public use? I thought you guys hated Turks the most! But you treated your Orthodox Macedonian brothers far worse!

    You said: As about the Slavmacedonians as you know in the past we had problems as about where they belong.

    They’ve been in Macedonia for 1,300years! They belong in Macedonia, duh!

    In Karakasidou’s book, there’s an excerpt (I’m paraphrasing) stating that at the time of the Balkan Wars, ethnic Greeks were a minority in Macedonia. It wasn’t until after the mass exodus of Slavs (for various reasons) and shipping in of Greek refugees that the demographics shifted. Then, it also says, even the Greek refugees were treated like garbage by the native Greeks!

    Doesn’t that mean Slav Macedonians belong in Macedonia since they were there longer than most Greeks that live there now?

    What is wrong with you people?

    You said: League of Nations tried to solve these problems with the establishment of Mixed Committees.

    Yes, one way they tried to solve it was with tools like the Abcedar, which proves a Macedonian speaking population in Greek Macedonia at the time.

    You said: Slav Macedonian political party took in the last European elections 0,1% (with the collaboration of the OAKKE a ultra communist party).

    You’re assuming all Slav Macedonians would vote for this party just because it’s a Slav Macedonian party. Maybe they voted for a Greek party because they had better candidates. They’re Greek citizens, they have the right to vote anyway they want.

    This fact doesn’t prove anything about their existence. Just because someone is Slav Macedonian, doesn’t mean they’ll automatically vote that way. Maybe they didn’t vote at all because they’ve been so demoralized by people like you, who set up entire web sites denying they exist in the first place.

    Perhaps they didn’t vote that way because of the communist connection (I was unaware of) you mentioned. Many Slav Macedonians do not support communism and never have.

    In fact, I personally know of several Slav Macedonian men who fought with the Greek state against communists. And what was their reward? A Greek surname and citizenship? Why would anyone want to be a citizen of a country that has outlawed their native language and denies their right to self determination?

    Some of these men still have trouble even entering Greece because they assert their Macedonian identity. What kind of a country treats their veterans this way?

    The rest of the free world demands more from their governments. When are Greeks like you gonna stand up and demand more from yours?

    Stop complaining about harmless, poor and tiny Skopje and look at your own country.

  4. Chris you put a lot of thinks and several issues. Minorities, bad Greeks, language, Veterans, Statistics, Identities e.t.c.

    "Slavmacedonian Identity"
    FYROM Macedonians accept theirs Slavic identity ?
    Did Greece ever put at the past any kind of obstacle in theirs SLAVmacedonian identity?

    "Macedonian identity"
    As long as they use the term "Macedonian" to describe their nationality, their minority in Greece cannot be recognized since the same name is used by the Greeks of Macedonia to describe themsleves for much longer that the written history of any slavic tribe.

    I am a Macedonian, however I am in no way identified with or related to the newly formed independent state referred to as “the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” ; I am instead insulted by the fact that I cannot be known as a Macedonian without being identified by others as related to FYROM.
    Is so hard to understand this ?

    Finally as I said in the international affairs, every state is free to choose the name it wishes. The exercise of the state's right to choose its name, as with any right in general, must not, however, impede the rights of other states or be accomplished for a purpose other than that for which the right was established for and be to the detriment of another state.
    UN show that the insistence of Greece that the choosing of a state's name can comprise a form of aggression is not without grounds.

    This is the first time that I've read this. Not one Slavmacedonian have mentioned this. The Slavamcedonians that fought the communism are here. They fought as Greek the Slavmacedonians NOF seperatists.

    Which language has forbidden and what were the political circumstances?
    Slav Macedonian dialects in Greek Macedonia (pre-WWII) and Bulgarian were brotherhood languages.
    Abecedar language (1925) has nothing to do with the communist codified post-WWII Slav Macedonian language.

  5. "Karakasidou and Slav Macedonian existence"
    Also said one more think..[Today, there are many sources of identity available to Slav-speakers in the Florina area, but none more powerful, inclusive, or hegemonic than that of the Greek national collectivity].
    Identity is a matter of choice, not of inheritance and Florina's inhabitants made their own choices as Karakasidou remarks.

    "Greek Macedonia National Status"
    Exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey in 1923, Greece and Bulgaria in 1925, facilitated the enculturation of Greek Macedonia.

    "Rainbow Political party"
    An association's name should not made confusion about perceived identities or political allegations. A tiny group of Slav Macedonians, unable to establish a viable political entity due to lack of supporters, cannot monopolize a name which is already used by the overwhelming majority of Macedonians of Greece.
    As I said 0,1% is the great answee on this.

    Chris if is something that I forget to answer I will be glad to do it. Just remind me.


Commentators have the exclusive responsibility of their writings, the material that they mention, as well as and the opinions that they express.