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Condemnation of Pangalos' Statements Regarding Macedonian Minority in Greece
Greek Helsinki Monitor - Press Release

December 23, 1998

Topic: Government, parties & human rights organizations must condemn intolerant statements by foreign minister Pangalos

The cooperating non-governmental organizations (NGOs) Greek Helsinki Monitor and Minority Rights Group-Greece condemn the statements made, yesterday in Skopje, by Minister of Foreign Affairs Theodoros Pangalos, as intolerant if not racist. They call upon the Greek government, political parties and other human rights organizations to unequivocally condemn them because in such cases "silence means complicity."

Mr. Pangalos referred to all persons claiming there is a minority in the Greek region of Western Macedonia as "pervert intellectuals and pervert journalists." He argued that the minority is "artificial, a product of Titoism and Stalinism." He repeatedly used pejorative if not slandering language for the minority party "Rainbow". He characterized it "a coalition of Slavomacedonians, Stalinists and homosexuals that got 1,700 votes in the last elections." He added, later on, that Rainbow "took part in the elections forming alliances with the Organization for the Reconstruction of the Communist Party of Greece (OAKKE) which is Stalinist, and the Movement for the Liberation of Homosexuals managing to obtain throughout Greece only 1,840 votes."

Given that Rainbow never took part in an election in coalition with an organization representing homosexuals, the above statement by Mr. Pangalos brings to memory similar attacks made by intolerant and nationalist circles towards human rights activists, independently of the clarifications the Minister resorted to later on. Besides, it must be reminded that Rainbow obtained in the 1994 European elections, in which it stood alone, 7,300 votes; and in the parliamentary elections of 1996, in coalition with OAKKE, 3,500 votes. Therefore, the figures presented by the Minister, who insisted they were official, were false. But, even if only 1,700 persons claimed the right to a minority identity, the argument that they constitute a very small number in order to be recognized as a minority weakens decisively the demands of the Greeks of Turkey who, with the tolerance of successive Greek governments, have been reduced to 2,500 persons.

We consider these statements unacceptable and condemnable for any Greek politician. More so when the Minister of Foreign Affairs makes them in an official visit to the capital of another country aiming at fellow nationals of the population of that country. How would Greeks feel if, for example, a Turkish Minister of Foreign Affairs blasts off with a similar attack against the Greek minority in Turkey during an official visit in Greece?

Greek Helsinki Monitor & Minority Rights Group - Greece
P.O. Box 51393
GR-14510 Kifisia, Greece
Tel. +30-1-620.01.20
Fax +30-1-807.57.67

Read the article by Panayote Dimitras of the Greek Helsinki Monitor regarding this topic.

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