ATHENS – After saying Greece should give away the name Macedonia in a new composite name for the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias received a warning letter in the mail containing three bullets.
Speaking to Antenna TV, Citizens Protection Minister Nikos Toskas said that the letter, which is in the hands of authorities, wrote: “We have three bullets for you.” Sending bullets in the mail is a tactic that has been used before to try to intimidate politicians and others.
The letter arrived just ahead of a Feb. 4 protest in Athens against the ruling Radical Left SYRIZA’s plans to let FYROM use the name Macedonia – that of an abutting ancient Greek province – in a new name to end a 25-year-feud that began when a New Democracy Administration allowed the use of the word.
Kotzias, who successfully sued and won damages from the noted Athens Review of Books for publishing a letter from a reader accusing him of being a Stalinist – he has an avid Communist background – said he wasn’t scared and that TV stations and papers have slandered him for years so as to make him a target.
“They are annoyed that no one can hold me back,” he said, blaming them for being the moral instigators of these threats.
“I await the condemnation of the Holy Synod and New Democracy,” he said, wondering if the Church and the major rival Conservative party would denounce the threat.
Toskas said authorities are searching for evidence to try to determine who sent the letter.
“We do not have to comment on how dangerous it is for someone to send letters because they do not like the way the negotiations are taking place,” Toskas said.
Plans by Kotzias and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to give away the name led to a massive demonstration on Jan. 21 in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city and port which FYROM claims as its own, along with the real Macedonia, other Greek lands and Greek heritage and culture.
Greece’s government, which includes the pro-austerity, marginal, jingoistic Independent Greeks (ANEL) of Defense Minister Panos Kamenos who opposes the name giveaway – hasn’t received any concession from FYROM to change its Constitution and drop irredentist claims on Greece, only a promise that the name of Alexander the Great airport in Skopje and a road bearing that name would be changed.