Greece News Weekly

“Repressed Macedonian Slav minority” angers Greece

The article of BBC “Greece’s invisible minority –
The Macedonian Slavs” triggered angry
reactions in Athens with the government to speak of “inaccurate and distorted Information.”

The point that angered the Greek government is the BBC claim that with the Prespes Agreement with the Republic of North Macedonia, “Greece has implicitly recognized the existence of a Macedonian language and ethnicity.
And yet it has denied the exist-ence of its own Macedonian minority for decades.”

Having interviewed a member of the minority, the BBC notes that the members of the “repressed Macedonian Slavs,” were forced to hide their identity from the outside world, their existence is absent from school history textbooks, that they were “not featured in censuses since 1951 (when they were only patchily recorded, and referred to simply as “Slavic-speakers”), and are barely mentioned in public. Most Greeks don’t even know that they exist.”

That erasure was one reason for Greece’s long-running dispute with the former Yugoslav republic now officially called the Republic of North Macedonia, the BBC notes adding:

“The dispute was finally resolved […] last month by a vote in the Greek parliament ratifying the Prespes Agreement” and that when Greek Prime Minster, Alexis Tsipras, referred during the parliamentary debate to the existence of “Slavomacedonians” in Greece – at the time of World War Two – he was breaking a long-standing taboo.”

Speaking to State news agency AMNA, diplomatic sources spoke of “inaccurate and distorted information about the Prespes Agreement and history.”

The Prespes Agreement “eliminates any room for raising a minority issue,” the sources stressed.

And they underlined that they will send a letter to BBC in which they will “reject the unacceptable claims of the reporter.”

Main opposition party, conservative New Democracy, lashed out at Tsipras government saying that they had warned that the Prespes Agreement would open the Pandora’s box of irredentism.