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Droves of Reactions to the BBC’s “Macedonian Minority” Report

February 25, 2019

ATHENS –  There appears to be no end in sight to the “political noise” caused by a BBC report, which stipulated that there existed a “repressed Macedonian minority” in Greece. 

New Democracy Spokeswoman Maria Spyraki, speaking to political editors, underlined that the Prespes Agreement produces negative results for Greece and added that ND had warned ahead of time that these negative effects would be felt sooner rather than later. She added that it was regrettable that her party’s worst fears have to come to pass regarding the Athens- Skopje agreement.

Ms. Spyraki pointed out that the Prime Minister must make it unequivocally clear that there is no question of a “Macedonian minority” in Greece, particularly in the aftermath the  BBC report that spoke of a repressed minority of “Macedonian Slavs” in Greece.

In support of her claim that the Prespes Agreement produces a series of “damaging results” for Greece, Mrs Spyraki also cited documents published the Northern Macedonian government using epithets such as  “Macedonian” or simply “Macedonia” on official government documents.

The government of Northern Macedonia has clarified that individuals who do not receive public funds can continue to use the epithet “Macedonian” as outlined in a letter given by Skopje to the United Nations.

New Democracy Head of Foreign Relations, George Koumoutsakos, made statements on the save wavelength regarding the BBC report.

 

“The government ought to, and has to, react to stop this avalanche of publications,” says George Koumoutsakos regarding the BBC’s report on the oppressed “Macedonian minority” in Greece.

“The problem structurally stems from the beginning of the negotiations between Athens and Skopje, the Prespes Agreement has implicitly recognized the status of Macedonian identity and language. The BBC article regrettably comes to confirm this, said New Democracy’s Head of Foreign Relations. Koumoutsakos added, “The publication may be isolated, but it may also conceal a misconception of things that tends to be adopted throughout Europe and beyond. Here we are clearly talking about a new form of irresponsibility. For the first time, Greece itself recognizes a Macedonian language and identity. We brought up our concern regarding both of these issues during the debates leading up to the vote of Prespes Agreement. The BBC is not a regional local newspaper, it is an agency with international influence and prestige. New Democracy has taken a position asking the government to rectify things.”

For his part, the President of Independent Greeks, and until now a government partner, Panos Kammenos, speaking on a television show, argued that the BBC’s report is linked to the activities of former Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias.

“I will hold a press conference and I will publish all the facts about Nikos Kotzias that prove a series of crimes that he has committed, such as the visa issue. The BBC report is linked to Nikos Kotzias’ activities, ” said Panos Kammenos.

Referring to the BBC article on the oppressed Macedonian minority, he said: “I went to the US and made one final effort. Inside SYRIZA there were people who wanted to take settle old scores dating back to the Greek Civil War..Unfortunately, SYRIZA and some from New Democracy members are actively trying to divide the Greek people.”

However PRATTO members in an interview call the former defense minister and governing coalition partner’s statements, “irresponsible attacks and thoroughlyinsulting with a disregard for civility,

In detail, what Mr Kammenos said is, according to the circles of PRATTO, “irresponsible attacks with insults at no cost. He first talks about crimes committed and then immediately talks about lawful procedures His lack of precision with his words, match the imbalance that evidently exists with his character.

With his stance on the issue and what he is saying about it, it begs the question whose bidding is he carrying out and cements his reputation a nationally divisive sycophant.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Speaker of Hellenic Parliament, MP of the Centre Union Party, Marios Georgiadis, also commented on the BBC report.

“Unfortunately, the Centre Union Party has been vindicated for all that it warned the Members of Parliament and the Greek people has confirmed what it has warned so far: that the oppressive agreement of Prespes, that the name North Macedonia is the main vehicle of Skopje’s irredentism,” Georgiades said to “New Epsilon”.

Asked about the BBC’s report, Mr. Georgiades stressed that “the challenges of dealing with irredentism are now upon us” and he assigns heavy blame on the Tsipras government agreement, noting that, ” Mr. Tsipras, instead of objecting to this BBC publication, proceeds to incessantly attack the leader of the opposition and his party”.

Mr. Georgiades also reiterated the urgent need for the conciliation of all democratic parties and the meeting of the Council of Political Chiefs, under the auspices of the President of the Republic.

The BBC report can be seen here: https://www.bbc.com/news/stories-47258809

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