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The Washington Times Publishes AHI’s Letter to the Editor on FYROM, Greece
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Demetra Atsaloglou
February 17, 2012—No. 11 (202) 785-8430

The Washington Times Publishes AHI’s Letter to the Editor on FYROM, Greece

WASHINGTON, DC — The Washington Times published a letter to editor on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 submitted by the American Hellenic Institute (AHI). AHI’s letter to the editor, “Macedonia is Hellenic Name,” written by President Nick Larigakis was submitted in response to the February 7, 2012 article “Macedonia complains Greece is ‘irrational,’” by Ben Birnbaum.

In the article, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s (FYROM’s) Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki “complains” Greece is being “irrational” on the name recognition issue and that Greece’s position is “unreasonable.” Larigakis defends Greece by asserting FYROM is acting irrationally with its leadership thinking it can “usurp 2,500 years of Hellenic history and culture.” He cites examples of provocative actions taken by FYROM against Greece, including renaming its airport and naming its national highway after Alexander the Great.

“FYROM’s provocations are irrational because they do not display good neighborly relations required of a NATO member,” wrote Larigakis.

In closing, Larigakis contends FYROM need only blame her own irrational position for not being in NATO and not Greece, which “has already compromised on the issue.”

Larigakis’ letter is also found below.

 

Dear Editor:

In the February 7, 2012 article “Macedonia complains Greece is ‘irrational,’” by Ben Birnbaum, the former nation’s foreign minister, Nikola Poposki, is the one who confuses which nation is acting irrationally in the process to resolve the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) name issue.

As the article attests, FYROM was founded in 1991. Therefore, it is irrational for FYROM and its leadership to think they can usurp 2,500 years of Hellenic history and culture. Over the years her provocative actions against Greece have continued to escalate. For example:

  • Skopje’s airport renamed “Alexander the Great,”
  • the nation’s highway is named “Alexander the Great,”
  • Skopje’s main stadium renamed after “Philip II, the Macedon,”
  • FYROM’s official maps of its territory display the Greek province of Macedonia and half the Greek peninsula,
  • FYROM has erected numerous duplicates of Ancient Macedonian Hellenic personalities and has renamed streets and squares for them in various places, and
  • a $5 million statue, 20 meters high, of Alexander the Great in the center of Skopje was erected in September 2011.

Furthermore, FYROM’s provocations are irrational because they do not display good neighborly relations required of a NATO member. In contrast, Greece has compromised greatly by proposing “a compound name for the country; a name that will distinguish it from both the Greek and Bulgarian part” in the effort to stabilize the Balkans and promote Euro-Atlantic standards. Ambassador of Greece to the U.S. Vassilis Kaskarelis underscored this point in the article. FYROM has not reciprocated. Incidentally, Foreign Minister Poposki’s attempt to cast Greece’s position as “unreasonable” by equating it to Canada and Mexico opposing the name “United States of America” because it includes “America” fails. Our nation’s official name is “United States of America” and not “America.”

Simply stated, FYROM need only blame her own irrational behavior for not being a member of NATO and not the rational position of NATO ally Greece, which has already compromised on the issue. 

Sincerely,

Nick Larigakis
President
American Hellenic Institute

1220 16th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
202-785-8430

 

The American Hellenic Institute (AHI) is a non-profit Greek American think-tank and public policy center that works to strengthen relations between the United States and Greece and Cyprus, and within the Greek American community.

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For additional information, please contact Demetra Atsaloglou at (202) 785-8430 or at [email protected]. For general information about the activities of AHI, please see our website at http://www.ahiworld.org.