BBC on Saturday modified a Greek journalist’s original story on the presence of an ethnic Macedonian minority resident in Greek villages of the Administrative Region of Macedonia. This development came after Maria Margaroni’s story sparked a public outcry both domestically in Greece and within the diaspora organisations in Britain, Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere. The Greek Ambassador to Britain, Dimitris Karamitsos-Tziras sent an official protest letter to the channel earlier this week criticising the officials for allowing projection of a story entailing historical inaccuracies and distorted interpretation of the provisions of the June 2018 Prespes Agreement.
The British broadcaster issued an official reply on Saturday restating the addition of a new section in the existing story, which outlines Greece’s standpoint on the issue. The section claims that only one minority is recognised within the Greek state’s premises, the Muslim minority in Thrace. In its historical dimension, the self-proclaimed Slavo-Macedonians residing within the Greek state are Greek citizens, and represent mostly a linguistic group, not an ethno-national minority. The Slavic-speaking or bilingual Greeks, whose national conscience was not Greek, found shelter in the first half of the twentieth century in neighbouring states. Since then, any remaining bilingual citizens acquired Greek national conscience.
The Greek perspective further emphasised that the Prespes Agreement has not incorporated any specialist provisions on the issue. Under the Prespes Agreement, the people of North Macedonia are known under the term Macedonians/citizens of the Republic of North Macedonia. This term is unitary in character and no dissociation can take place between the two epithets as stand-alone adjectives. Additionally, the Prespes Agreement does not envisage the presence of a North Macedonian minority within Greece.