Greece, Macedonia clash at UN over name

Macedonia took its two-decade-old dispute with Greece over its name to the United Nations’ highest court on Monday.

The two countries have been at loggerheads since Skopje declared independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1992. Greece has demanded that Macedonia change its name, which is also the name of a Greek region, and has blocked Macedonia’s bid to become a member of NATO.

Macedonia filed suit with the International Court of Justice in The Hague in November 2008, asking it to order Greece to stop blocking Macedonia’s bid to join the Western military alliance.

The hearings at the Netherlands-based court are scheduled to last about a week.

Macedonian Foreign Minister Antonio Miloshoski told reporters in The Hague on Monday that Skopje is asking the court to assess Greece’s actions at the time NATO was deciding whether or not to invite Macedonia to become a member.

Macedonia says that Greece violated a 1995 bilateral accord, under which Skopje agreed to use the provisional name “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” in international organizations and Athens agreed not to block Macedonia membership in the European Union and NATO.

The lawyer representing Macedonia at the International Court of Justice, Philippe Sands, said the case is of great importance for the country’s internal stability and regional well-being.

Greece objects to Macedonia’s use of the name, saying it implies a claim to the northern Greek province that has the same same. Macedonian leaders have repeatedly said their country has no designs on Greek territory.

The United Nations recognized Macedonia’s independence in 1993 under the name Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia . But more than 100 countries have recognized the country under its constitutional name Republic of Macedonia. voa

22 comments

  1. That way she will make enough room for her lovely precious albanos!!!

  2. That way Bulgarian will be so envy….they will all explode and all the elite of greeky maki taki will win. Those Bulgarians who will survive will like to join the greeky maki taki elitte and will say they are maki as well. They can join the maki club if they show can they drink so much rakija and uzzo and eat suflaki and gravce tavce. Turks will stay on a side and then sudenlly make international problem why you greeki maki buki use baklava and musaka as a term when those are turkish…then you all go to court as well and serv uzo, rakija, suflaki,gravce tavce, musaka and baklava to judges so they can decide what is what which is which and they get drunk too……Then Hilary comes and sent us all to hell!!

  3. I think we should close this problem without official solution, but officially closed.
    Then I think both PM and Presidents and representatives of biggest political parties in both country should go on a buzzuki party together and argue over and over again over historical issues who is who and who is how much what. After too much gallons of uzzo / rakija and grill they will kiss eachother and agree over anything and sign a paper for Union (not necessary political but necessary alcoholical-historical)
    Because of that positive outcome both countries should obey that minimum once a week people should attend a multi-culti parties and get drunk together like pigs.

  4. Champion Gruevski is doing the right thing for some of the Slavomakedontsian Fyromians. And the Greek government is doing the right thing for the Macedonians.

    Skopje admires Greece that is why it ‘borrowed’ 🙂 the history of the Macedonians. And it ‘borrowed’ the history of the Bulgarians and the Albanians and the Serbs. It’s OK to be ignorant and one day beautiful Fyrom will find its identity.

    Long live Skopje country ! Long live Greece! Long live Bulgaria!

  5. You can all call us FYROM – we no what we are True Macedonians, Sticks and stones can break my Bones but words can never hurt us 😛

    Before one of you come back and start hitting the keyboard with a response to me, get that keyboard and smack your self across the head couple of times.

    Gruevski is a Champion he is doing the right thing, If the Greeks get upset about it so be it, we have put up with your sh#t for too long

    PEACE 2 EVERYONE

  6. FYROM and their FYROMians are nothing but fictitious and propagandist actions started by scum-of-the-earth Tito. Tito invented “aegean macedonia”, “pirin macedonia” and “vardar macedonia”, used only by FYROMians and no other countries of the world. Gruevski continues his radicalism and facism by introducing terms such as “macedonism”, “ethnic macedonia”, “macedonian language”, “macedonian identity”, etc, again used only by FYROMians themselves. What their branwashed people dont understand is that although over 100 countires have recognized them as RoM, each and every one of them have agreed to call them that until the final UN negotions. No wonder why Gruevski is forced to do so. You honestly think he would have quit on the process if it still wasnt in danger? However, here is the thing… he thinks he has won because over 100 countries recognized RoM. The issue that he doesnt want the world to know is, how many have officially recognized a Macedonian Identity? How many have officially recognized a Macedonian language? You probably guessed it, a big fat ZERO -0-!!! They are only recognizing you as a political organization, aka country/nation. Never as an ethnicity. This is where the brilliant coy of FYROMians come into play. They try taking advantage of their small percentage of geographic Macedonia, compeletly different from historic/ancient Macedonia -that of Alexander the Great-. The same region is shared by Bulgaria and Greece. This is geography only my freinds, not ethnicity. There is no ethnic Macedonia(ns). The only cultural/historical link to ancient Macedonia exists through the people of Greece today. Brilliant in their delivery of confusing the world, however the educated world doesnt buy it. They just arent going to waste their time on a pitiful little pseudonation like FYROM.

  7. I totally agree with Rade! Macedonians just want to get on with their lives. They dont care about FYROM and its irredentist propaganda. Slavomakedontsians and Fyromians should get off their back.

  8. Its always the Macedonians who are full of propaganda hahaha dude seriously, Please get over your selves the truth is out, Let our people live in PEACE, and those books you are on about, go wipe your ass with them champ 😉

  9. I agree with much of what you say. (nice name by the way)

  10. Dear readers

    Discussions over the use and appropriation of the geographical reference “Macedonia” have a tendency to spiral out of control and result to the familiar propagandist vile with no end in sight.

    All the article seeks to do is simply state a factual event, namely that the name dispute amongst Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is still pending and that it will be brought before the International Court of Justice in The Hague. There is really no invitation to debate anything here.

    To my fellow Greeks, I lament the fact that our successive governments have mismanaged not only our financial affairs, but rather our nation’s credibility in the international sphere. Of course, this is not to say that the credibility of other nations and supposed “allies” of ours is of the highest order.

    It is with profound regret that the Greek nation sat so idly by over the last century in allowing a fictitious and malignant manifestation (reference to the FYROM issue) develop and strengthen through the years; aided by Greek indifference and even by short sighted Greek political/commercial interests.

    At the risk of being accused as a pessimists, among other colourful epithets, I regret to say that Greece has lost this very important battle; the safeguarding of one aspect of Greek identity.

    My humble view is not for the Greek state and government to seek to capture the imagination of the wider world on notions of historical truthfulness and the like. On the contrary, I would suggest that Greece’s interests lay in getting its own house in order so as to better position itself for the future.

    Regretfully, the rest of the world cannot contemplate Greece’s legitimate concerns in relation to a name. The general impression conveyed is one of Greek paranoia and just obstinate intransigence. What’s in a name? There are other places with duplicate names….. The state of New England (USA), New Mexico, and the US cities named Athens, etc…. As we can see, it becomes a difficult task for Greece to convey this message to the world. The task is particularly harder when, in comparative demographic terms, FYROM is a minnow. How can the Greeks seriously feel threatened? These are the first reactions in the minds of many outside of the region.

    As a Greek with acute sensitivities to the history of my homeland, I can fully understand Greece’s legitimate concerns and the ‘organised efforts’ behind the scenes of Greece’s adversaries.

    In conclusion, it is my view that Greece should invest in its future and be cognizant of the perils that lay ahead; particularly the “known unknowns” to borrow from that red neck US politician come criminal whose name I rather forget.

    In any event, no matter what, history is bigger than any contemporary and cannot change no matter how much one may want it.

    Personally, I believe Greece should work actively behind the scenes to restrict or contain FYROM (no illegality suggested). It should not continue building its investment in the country (even if this vacuum shall be filled by another). Greece should actively work with all nations in the area to strengthen partnerships for peace and prosperity and provide the appropriate incentives/disincentives as appropriate.

    Greece should abstain from participating in the ICJ, not because it has something to fear, rather because some inalienable rights just cannot be negotiated. It cannot be up to any interested (i.e. biased) court to rule over a nation’s legitimate historical, cultural, and sovereign interests. How should Greece respond if it participates and “loses” the case? Will that all of a sudden delegitimize Greece’s claim to its own history?

    Other nations in Greece’s position may unquestionably adopt covert actions to bring about the downfall of its perceived enemies? Israel and Iran just two of the many states that have been prepared to adopt such approaches. The UK and the US or others. Why should Greece play Mr Nice guy and leave its fate to the hands of other international instruments behind which predator nations hide?

  11. I can’t believe the nonsense I’m reading. Rade, Robert and Sash need to either open a history book or just keep quiet. The propaganda I read is idiotic and any human being with a brain can see through it but I have to keep reading and it makes me angry, its like someone telling you a TV is really a door, can you honestly just accept it because the person you’re trying to converse with is a moron? These people keep forgetting that over 300 history professors at reputable Universities debunked their out of this world claims and signed a letter that was sent to Obama, are they also forgetting that their language is a Cyrillic script that was actually made by Greek priests(Cyril and Methodius) in late 8th century A.D in Bulgaria and has nothing to do with Ancient Macedonia(or current) and are they forgetting that Fyrom is located in Paeonia that was also ruled by Hellenes or the fact that it was later sacked by the Celts, Huns, Goths, and Sarmatians and the indigenous population was depleted or the fact that Bulgarians were using the slav population of northern Greece(Macedonia) to plan out an attack to take over Macedonia from Greece where thousands died?

    I can’t change your minds because of the propaganda you’ve been fed by your schools and family but knowledge is power, you’re just a bunch of people that denied your Bulgarian ancestry and now are stuck in the Balkans where history is very important and as much as its understandable to place yourselves in a comfort zone by going through the easy way of claiming a name or even land for yourself to match up to a ancient civilization you’re just meddling with historical facts and Greece and hopefully the world will not stand for it.

  12. Greece is in a bit of strife now ……no matter what all you Greeks are talking up here, it’s obvious that the world will finally uncover what Greece really is- a nation built on lies, corruption and propaganda.

  13. @ Demitri

    Robert Stated the FACTS ,FACT grow a pair and face reality FACT keep dribbling sh#t we don’t care 🙂

  14. @”Robert”

    FACT: Greece is a very real nation.

    FACT: Greeks share more culturally, linguistically, ideologically, and possibly even biologically in common with their ancient counterparts than the vast majority of ethnic groups do with their claimed ancestors. Can you read any of the Greek writing on ancient Macedonian artifacts Robert? I can. Do you have anything in common culturally with ancient counterparts Robert? Where your ancestors discussing ta physica, mathmatika, biologia, philosophia, geometry Robert? Some of mine were.

    FACT: In the early 19th century the capital of today’s FYROM (Skopje)_… was official part of the Ottoman empire and named a Turkish Uskub. It was populated by mostly Turks and self-identifying ethnic Bulgarians. At least some of the those Bulgarians went on to rename themselves “ethnic Macedonians”.

    FACT: “Robert” needs to open a few history books outside of ones produced by the FYROM government and stop harassing Greeks with racist gibberish posing as reason.

  15. FACT: Modern day greece is a fictitious state born out of germany, france and Britain in the early 1800’s.

    FACT: Modern day greeks do not have any ancestry from the ancient hellenes, the bulk of modern greeks are of albanian, roma and turkik blood and a decent portion of arab, slavic, vlach, roma and off course brainwashed and beaten Macedonians.

    FACT: Macedonia was and always will be MACEDONIA! and no ethnic albanian, turk, roma, vlach, arab and off course brainwashed Macedonians will change this.

    FACT: Modern day greece is falling apart internally and will cease to exist within the next 20 years!

  16. Spiro

    I agree the Greek government has turned things into a thallasa. Our name is currently in the mud. I think some Greeks also carry moral responsibility for that though not only the government. Far left and far right ideology has poisoned Greece both economically and spiritually. Some on the far right behave like Nazis by harassing minorities (thus alienating our friends and making all Greeks seems like the bad guys). The far left like to spend spend spend (getting us into debt) and are appeasing cowards that call FYROM “Macedonians” since everyone else does (just the communists did during the Greek civil war). Apparently moderation isn’t a word in the Greek vocabulary. We are our own worse enemies.

    In any case, I wouldn’t worry about the ICJ case. If the ICJ claims FYROM is somehow the victim… given FYROM’s ethnic Bulgarian past, the rampant irredentism encouraged by their government and attempts to usurp our very identity… then the ICJ would have absolutely no moral credibility. Hopefully it takes into account the clauses in the accord that state FYROM should not engage in hostile propaganda, attempt to usurp our history, interfere in our internal politics, or attempt to challenge out territorial integrity.

  17. Politicians can put a country to shame only through media, however the reality check is that FYROM, a country that has only a small percentage of geographic Macedonia and less than a quarter of the citizens of geographic Macedonia, is claiming the entire region as theirs, including the history of the ancient Macedonians who were clearly Greek. Reality check: FYROM will not survive the outcome of this result, Gruevski will be as good as Sadaam to his people.

  18. Our lovely government will put our country (Greece) to further shame by losing the case against FYROM..They lied to the EU in relation to our finances and now the ICJ court case is really going to give our politicians a reality check..I can only see more unrest and demonstrations in the future..

  19. “Following the partition of Macedonia in 1913, Aegean Macedonia was annexed by Greece and since then its indigenous people, the ethnic Macedonians, became the target and often the victim of the oppressive policies of Greek state. Today, after nearly ninety years of assimilation efforts by the Greek governments it seems that measures have proved to be unsuccessful in Hellenizing the region. Currently, the ethnic Macedonians, estimated around 1,000,000 by some sources, still constitute the majority of population in that part of the Greece, Aegean part of Macedonia.”
    After the Balkan Wars (1912-1913), the First World War (1914-1918) and especially after the Peace Treaties of Lausanne (1923), which gave the Macedonian issue a central place, there began a great ethnic cleansing of Macedonians, who in 1912 had numbered 374,000, from the Aegean part of Macedonia.
    The large colonization brought about by the Greeks was followed by a law passed by the Greek government in 1926 on the change of the toponymy of the Aegean part of Macedonia. All villages, towns, rivers and mountains were renamed and given Greek names.Following the political partition of Macedonia in 1913, Greece launched upon an active policy of the denial of the nationality and the assimilation of the Macedonians. The name Macedonian and the Macedonian language were prohibited and the Macedonians were referred to as Bulgarians, Slavophone Greeks or simply “endopes” (natives).
    At the same time, all the Macedonians were forced to change their names and surnames, the latter having to end in -is, -os or -poulos.The attacks on the Macedonian language culminated at the time of Ioannis Metaxas (1936). General Metaxas banned the use of Macedonian not only in everyday life in the villages, in the market-place, in ordinary and natural human communications and at funerals, but also within the family circle. Adult Macedonians, regardless of their age, were forced to attend what were known as evening schools and to learn “the melodious Greek language”. The violation of the ban on the use of the Macedonian language in the villages, market-places or the closed circle of the family caused great numbers of Macedonians to be convicted and deported to desolate Greek islands.
    Greece followed a policy of assimilating the Macedonian minority and Hellenizing the Macedonian region in northern Greece. The government changed place names and personal names from Macedonian to Greek, (Decree No. 332 of 1926) ordered religious services to be performed in Greek, and altered religious icons.”
    Macedonia was a single geographic entity until the Balkan Wars of 1912-13. As a result of the Treaty of Bucharest, Macedonia was partitioned among Serbia, Greece, and Bulgaria. These regions are known as the Republic of Macedonia (independent since 1991), Aegean Macedonia (occupied by Greece since 1913), and Pirin Macedonia (occupied by Bulgaria since 1913). There are also small parts of Macedonia presently in Albania (known as Mala Prespa and Golo Brdo) and Yugoslavia (Gora and Prohor Pchinski).
    Upon annexation of Macedonia’s territory, Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria began terrorist campaigns aimed at expelling or forcibly assimilating the indigenous ethnic Macedonian population. Greece and Bulgaria continue this policy today by denying the existence of the large ethnic Macedonian minorities within their respective territories and refusing to grant them their basic human rights

    Pirin Macedonia came under Bulgarian occupation after the Balkan Wars in 1913. Macedonians were denied their human rights, the right to speak their own language, and the ability to openly express their Macedonian identity. These human rights violations continue today. Bulgarians also claim that Macedonians are “really Bulgarians” and that they speak “a Western Bulgarian dialect.” This despite the fact that Macedonian is spoken by millions of people throughout the world and is an internationally recognized language and taught at dozens of universities worldwide.

    In Bulgaria, in Pirin Macedonia, there was in 1919 a compact Macedonian population of about 250,000. Official Bulgarian policy and statistics following the Second World War showed different figures in different periods concerning the number of ethnic Macedonians in the country. The encyclopedic handbook Ethnic Minorities in Europe quotes data from the official censuses. In 1946 there were 300,000 people enumerated as Macedonians and in 1956 – 188,000.
    According to the sources quoted, in 1990 there were about 250,000 Macedonians living in Bulgaria. It is important to note that according to the 1956 census, when 187,789 inhabitants declared themselves as Macedonians, they constituted a majority in a large part of Pirin Macedonia. In the Blagoevgrad District alone, which comprised 281,015 inhabitants, 178,862, or 63.7% declared themselves as Macedonians. There are also many Macedonians living in Sofia and other parts of Bulgaria. In spite of all claims by Bulgaria to European orientation and the acceptance of European democratic values, during the 1992 population census the Macedonians were not allowed to declare their ethnic affiliation under a separate heading.

    In a short period after 1947, the Macedonians living in Pirin Macedonia had schools in their mother tongue and their own theatre. More recently, Amnesty International, the Organization for International Human Rights, and Human Rights Watch/Helsinki have given documentary evidence about the situation there and about the violation of the individual and minority rights of the Macedonians.
    In 1994 and 1995, the periodicals of the Macedonian organizations in Pirin Macedonia came under attack from the Public Prosecutor of Bulgaria. Several periodicals, including Makedonska Volja, however, continue to write openly on the discrimination against ethnic Macedonians in Bulgaria. An illustration of the extent of this discrimination is the expulsion from the Bulgarian Writer’s Association of the writer Slave Makedonski, whose works have been translated into several world languages, owing to the fact that he has publicly declared his Macedonian ethnic affiliation.

    The Macedonian Minority
    Just as with Greece, Bulgaria officially denies the existence of a Macedonian minority within its borders. The logic of this assertion required, ludicrously, the Bulgarian government to recognize the newly independent Republic of Macedonia in 1991 but with the explicit reservation that it did not recognize the Macedonian ethnic identity of the people who reside there. Just as in Greece, the official policy of denial of ethnic identity of the Macedonians leads to a pervasive atmosphere of intolerance and discrimination against those who choose to assert their identity.

    • It is true that Greece oppressed native people in its historic Macedonian region. But it did NOT oppress Macedonians or any other Greeks.
      However, it did oppressed Slavophones because of the war with Bulgaria and the Cold War.
      But now Greece gives all the freedom in the world to its Slavophone citizens who live in Macedonia. And Greece creates thousands of jobs in FYROM. So where is the problem?

  20. Post WW2 Yugoslav communists renamed the region of Vardar the “socialist Republic of Macedonia”. At the time they publicly stated they had no claim to Macedonia Greece and were only concerned about their “human rights”. In practice however they attempted to use force to take control of Macedonia Greece that triggered a civil war in Greece that killed lead to over 120,000 deaths).. Western powers at the time (including the UK and America) denied the existence of a “Macedonian people”. and called it communist “demagoguery” (a point that unfortunately seems to be buried by some media that frankly comes across as racism directed at Greeks)

    The interm accord included clauses not to engage in hostile propaganda or attempts to usurp Greek history. While the FYROM government says one thing to foreign nations on a diplomatic level, on a practical level the government encourages its citizens vis-a-vis schoolbooks, newspapers, television and other media to see Macedonia Greece as occupied territory and themselves as descendants of ancient Macedonians. (including renaming public structures, roads, and building a giant statue dedicated to Alexander the Great (while simultaneously claiming “persecution” and “genocide”)

    In short, history seems to be repeating itself.

    The funny thing about the whole situation is that FYROM nationalists (and its apologists) claim Greeks are oppressing their “Macedonian” identity. Curiously no one seems to ask the question what was the name of FYROM nationalists before this dispute arose. The majority of people that used to live in FYROM used to freely self-identify as ethnic Bulgarians prior to Tito’s renaming of Vardar into “Macedonia” in 1944.

    So in a strange twist….the reality of the situation it is the current FYROM government itself that is oppressing evidence of its Bulgarian heritage. (while its apologists are in the backup role of the ethnic engineers of the Soviet Union helping them oppress evidence of their own Bulgarian heritage)

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