Greek Prosecutor Probes Paper Firing Squad Graphic Over FYROM Deal

Stephanos Chios is the owner of Makeleio. (Photo by Eurokinissi/Stelios Stefanou)

ATHENS – An illustration showing Greece’s President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister being executed by a firing squad, showing fury over a deal to let the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) be renamed North Macedonia, has led a prosecutor to probe whether charges should be brought against the newspaper.

The head of Athens’ First instance Prosecutor’s office Ilias Zagoreos ordered an emergency investigation into the extreme-right tabloid Makeleio, which put the graphic on its front page to show believed the government was “selling out” Greece.

The probe will determine whether charges can be filed for incitement to commit a crime and insulting President Prokopis Pavlopoulos, said Kathimerini. Ironically, he is a member of the major rival New Democracy whose leader, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has blasted anti-nationalist Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras for going ahead with the agreement.

The main article is titled “At eight meters, like Beloyiannis,” referring to Resistance leader Nikos Beloyiannis, a Communist who was shot in 1952, with the subtitle: “The puppets of the collaborators handed over our Macedonia to the Albanian-Slavs with the false name ‘North Macedonia.’ Pavlopoulos – Tsipras – Kotzias: firing squad with a shot in the head for the fatal blow.”

It was accompanied by two pictures, one of a military firing squad and one showing uniformed soldiers with the bloodied, photoshopped heads of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias.

A separate article below shows a soldier lying in the grass with the photoshopped head of Pavlopoulos, with blood on his face. The title below says: “In times of war, traitors are executed Mr. President of the Republic.”

The agreement has drawn vehement opposition, including from Tsipras’ own junior coalition partner, the pro-austerity, marginal, jingoistic Independent Greeks (ANEL) of Defense Minister Panos Kammenos, who said he opposes the deal but won’t stand in the way of.

That means he could vote for it while opposing it but said if any of the eight members of his party support the deal they will be ousted from the party.

Tsipras may need votes from rival parties to get the agreement ratified in Parliament but that prospect is months off and he has barred a referendum, unlike FYROM Premier Zoran Zaev who said he will take it to his people to decide.