Letter: Distinguishing between 'ethnicity' and 'national identity' in Greece

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The Independent Online
Sir: There is one point that was not made sufficiently clear in your leading article on Greece ('Threat to an ancient freedom in Greece', 16 May) and related reports ('Death threats haunt Greek champion of Macedonians', 10 May; ' 'Macedonian patriot' faces trial in Athens clampdown', 11 May).

The rightful pursuit of political activities and the freedom of expression are of paramount importance, but can only be conducted legitimately if they comply with the frame of laws which, in a parliamentary democracy, the sovereign state has determined for itself.

If such laws are violated, it is the right and duty of the sovereign state alone and its own citizens to determine the course of action that is appropriate and in accordance with such laws. In the instance of Mr Sideropoulos, it is such compliance that has to be investigated, clearly a judicial matter, before one makes a case on his rights to 'political freedom' for which Greece has been so openly criticised.

As for Ms Karakasidou, it is obvious that she has knowingly embarked upon a scholarly research and a further activity on a sensitive matter and therefore should have made doubly sure that she has and is at all times complying with the laws of her sovereign state. If she has done all the above, she will no doubt be entitled to the protection which every law-abiding citizen is entitled and, if necessary, receiving in Greece.

Yours sincerely,

E. K. STAVRIANAKIS

London, W1

16 May

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