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Greece Should Accept Existence of Republic of Macedonia

April 1, 2008

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Greek Helsinki Monitor Source: MIA news agency

Greece should accept the existence of Republic of Macedonia and stop with the policy that leads nowhere, says Greek Helsinki Committee chairman Panayote Dimitras in Macedonian TV programme "Voice of the People."
"Greece must understand and realize that the Republic of Macedonia exists, the Macedonian people and language exist, and thus must accept all these things and stop the policy that leads nowhere," stresses Dimitras.
According to him, the problem is the Greek public opinion, which was never told what are basic human rights, or rights in line with the international law.
"On the contrary, Greeks believe that Greece has the unique right to this name, and the same topic is in the focus in light of the NATO summit, instead of thinking about mutual cooperation, future, and security," says Dimitras.
He also reiterated the statement of former Greek PM Mitsotakis, who said that the conflict with Republic of Macedonia is not related to the name, but the problem is the Macedonian minority in Greece.
"People in Greece are afraid that if a country under the name Macedonia is recognized, Greece would have to recognize the Macedonian minority at its own territory. If the country is recognized under a different name, then Greece will not have to recognize this minority. The problem is that the Greek people do not know, or nobody has told them, that the Macedonian minority in Greece was recognized by the European Human Rights Court ten years ago, when it passed a judgment against Greece, because it does not recognize the Macedonian minority," states the Greek Helsinki Committee chairman.
Dimitras stresses that according to the European court, Greece has not recognized neither [neither] the Macedonian minority, nor Turkish associations in the country. He referred to Monday's [31 March] judgment of the court to revoke for the second time Greece's decision regarding the two Turkish associations that are not recognized in Greece, because they contain the word "Turkish" in their name.
"All minorities should have their freedom. As long as minorities do not call for violence, they should fully express themselves in a democratic way. Unfortunately, Greece does not do this, and will not do so in the near future. Moreover, Greece is allowed to act in this way, tolerated by its friends, EU and Council of Europe partners, which have never really punished the country for such a stance," underlines Greek Helsinki Committee chairman Panayote Dimitras.

 
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