Letter: Macedonian thorn in Greece's flesh

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The Independent Online
Sir: I would like to offer some comments on Tom Gallagher's letter (14 July) on the issue of 'Macedonia'.

Dr Gallagher accuses Greece of 'self-indulgence' and calls it 'the delinquent EC state'. He draws unacceptable parallels between the 1967-1974 junta and the present democratic government. I wonder what we may one day find in the records of Foreign Office about Britain's role in Cyprus in 1974 and before?

He goes on to accuse Greece of trying to destabilise 'Macedonia'. Perhaps he ought to remember that the so-called 'Republic of Macedonia' was something that the late Marshall Tito pulled out of a hat in 1945, partly to further his own purposes and partly to create a thorn in the flesh of Greece. This 'republic' subsequently offered refuge to insurgent Communists who were fleeing Greece after an unfruitful bid for power there. Ever since, it has waged an extensive propaganda campaign abroad, claiming rights not just in territory but also in Greece's history.

It went so far as to mail propaganda leaflets to churches and homes in Greek Macedonia. I have first-hand knowledge of this, as I am a native of Thessaloniki. It is to the civilised world's shame that it has uncritically accepted gross deviations from the truth as historical facts.

Greece has no interest whatsoever in creating enemies. Far more destabilising (and, indeed, suspect) than Greece's legitimate worries are the actions of well-wishers, either politicians or journalists, who believe that it is quite appropriate to lend random support or opposition to other people's causes.

If I may draw an imaginary parallel, how would the English view an attempt by another country to support Scottish devolution and independence?

Yours faithfully,

ANTHONY PAPAGIANNIS

Penarth,

South Glamorgan

14 July

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