Author Topic: Huge 'Macedonia' protest in Athens  (Read 500 times)

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Offline Maik

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Huge 'Macedonia' protest in Athens
« on: Sunday, 04 February, 2018 @ 20:36:32 »
Quote
Greece Macedonia: Name dispute draws mass protest in Athens

At least 140,000 Greeks have taken to the streets of Athens in a protest about the decades-long dispute over the name Macedonia.

Many Greeks object to the country of the same name calling itself Macedonia, saying it implies a territorial claim on Greece's northern Macedonia region.

Protesters oppose Greek government proposals on resolving the issue.

Celebrated Zorba The Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis, 92, was among those addressing the crowds.

Demonstrators carrying Greek flags chanted "hands off Macedonia" and "Macedonia is Greece", as they assembled in Syntagma Square outside parliament.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-42937889


Protesters from Kef chartered a coach to Athens.

Offline TonyKath

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Re: Huge 'Macedonia' protest in Athens
« Reply #1 on: Monday, 05 February, 2018 @ 14:50:57 »
1991 all over again.  Covered relatively neutrally in English Language Ekathimerini but very partisan in the Greek Version all day yesterday and today. 

Macedonia has been called Macedonia in both countries for at least a century.  It might have been one country in 500 B.C. but it ain't now.  Theodorakis seems not to have noticed there's an international border.  You might as well say Alexandria in Egypt is still Greek - it was once and named after Alexander The Great of... Macedonia (!). 

It's all flared up since Tsipras and the new socialist PM of FYROM have started discussions.  Nationalists on both sides are not having it. 

Tony

Update 5 BC changed to 500 BC - oops!! :lol:
« Last Edit: Monday, 05 February, 2018 @ 17:13:47 by TonyKath »

Offline Bryan-in-Kilkis

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Re: Huge 'Macedonia' protest in Athens
« Reply #2 on: Monday, 05 February, 2018 @ 15:08:28 »
As a frequent visitor to Macedonia (i.e. across the border) and with many Macedonian friends, I can attest that most people there are thoroughly bemused by the Greek stance.  To my mind, the Greeks really ought to set about sorting out their own house and stop fretting over the name.  I have visited sites in the Republic of Macedonia (such as the ancient Roman town of Stobi, near Negotino, 90 minutes' drive north of Kilkis and very much not in Greece) that are clear evidence that Macedonia did NOT extend only as far as the present border.  'Paranoia' is a very Greek word.  It all just makes me roll my eyes heavenwards.

Offline TonyKath

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Re: Huge 'Macedonia' protest in Athens
« Reply #3 on: Monday, 05 February, 2018 @ 17:14:45 »
Would a change in the Macedonia (FYROM) constitution help?!

Tony

Offline Maik

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Re: Huge 'Macedonia' protest in Athens
« Reply #4 on: Monday, 05 February, 2018 @ 20:42:49 »
My understanding is that the area known as Macedonia is most largely in Greece with smaller parts in Albania, Bulgaria and what was Yugoslavia. In ancient times, when there were no countries, people identified with one another through language and culture. The people in Macedonia region shared what we now call ancient Greek language and culture, like Athenians or Spartans. This included Philip II of Macedon and his son, Alexander the Great.

The people now living in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia are mostly of Slavic origin and descended from settlers in the 6th and 7th centuries AD. The present 'Macedonian' language derives from Bulgarian / Slavic language.

FYROM was known as Southern Serbia and then Vardar Banovina until after World War II when Tito renamed it Macedonia and expressed the aim to unite with it the rest of ancient Macedonia, i.e. to take control of the parts of ancient Macedonia now in Albania, Bulgaria and Greece.

These claims resurfaced in the 1980s and 90s and official FYROM documents and school books refer to 'Greater Macedonia' including the city of Thessaloniki and Mount Olympus, home of the ancient Greek gods. Additionally, the ancient Greek culture of Macedonia has been claimed by FYROM, e.g. a statue of Alexander the Great was erected in the capital, Skopje, and Skopje airport was renamed Skopje "Alexander the Great" Airport, despite Kavala airport in Greece already being called Kavala International Airport "Megas Alexandros".

FYROM occupies a land area of 25,713 km2, the Greek region of Macedonia occupies a land area of 34,177 km2 .

The population of FYROM is around 2.1 million, of which 25% are of Albanian descent and class themselves as Albanians, not 'Macedonians'. The population of the Macedonia region in Greece is around 2.5 million, including ethnic groups such as Albanians, Roma, Aromanians and Slavic speakers - but relatively small numbers.

More recently the FYROM government has backed down on certain claims to territory and culture but there's no guarantee these claims won't resurface if a nationalist government is elected in the future.

Offline TonyKath

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Re: Huge 'Macedonia' protest in Athens
« Reply #5 on: Tuesday, 06 February, 2018 @ 17:25:07 »
Μπράβο Maik!

As good a summary of the present situation as you could want. I knew the name "Macedonia" didn't start North of the Greek border until the Tito era but somehow wrote a hundred years ago when it was seventy - but still a long tlme. FYROM clearly have to drop any irredentist claims if they are going to get anywhere remotely near EU/NATO membership. It's nationalism of an influential minority on both sides.

Tony