Greek Foreign Ministry issued a preliminary response to BBC Channel’s false allegations about the presence of a Slavo-Macedonian minority in Greece
A BBC story on Sunday supported that there is a hidden Slavic Macedonian minority residing for decades in Northern Greece and is stripped of political representation rights, and socio-linguistic freedoms. The story claimed that the Prespes Agreement implicitly recognised the presence of a North Macedonian minority within the Greek state. The report focuses on a retired lawyer identified as Mr. Fokas who proclaims himself to be a Greek citizen of Slavic-Macedonian origins.
Mr. Fokas provided the story behind the progressive exclusion of Slavo-Macedonians from the Greek state since the early 1930s. These restrictions climaxed during World War II and the Slavo-Macedonian minority nearly lost its entitlements in the aftermath of the Greek civil war – leading to thousands of these people finding refuge in the Soviet Union and Tito’s part of Yugoslavia which is now known as Northern Macedonia.
According to the BBC story, by the Greek journalist in London, Maria Margaronis, the Prespes Agreement does not envision the presence of a Macedonian minority residing in Northern Greece. What the Agreement does nonetheless, according to the journalist, is to endorse the existence of Macedonian language and nationality– integral features of the ethnic Macedonian minority residing in Greece. In other words, the Prespes Agreement provides indirect recognition of this minority. Which is totally false.The Greek journalist continues by presenting a story of harassment endured by the Slav Macedonians in Greece. A rather dangerous for the stability in the region statement without any solid proof.
Greek Foreign Ministry officials reported that the Prespes Agreement provisions do not foresee the presence of an ethnic Macedonian minority in Greece and any efforts to verify these allegations from stories such as the one shown by the BBC channel possess inaccurate and distorted information. The Greek Foreign Ministry reserved to issue an official statement to BBC in the coming days, refuting point by point each of the unsubstantiated allegations made within the story.
It is interesting though, if not alarming, that it was a Greek not a Slav or an English journalist who decided to write such a story fuelling tensions that are totally unecessary and rather dangerous for our country, boycotting the Prespes Agreement and the stability in the region. What was really the purpose of such an article?