Nina Gatzoulis Coordinator of the
World Pan-Macedonian Associations
February 4, 2019
TO: Members of the Europarliament
This letter is an appeal by the members of the World Pan-Macedonian Associations to the Members of Parliament of the European Union to make known to the international community that the majority of the Greek people in Greece and abroad are opposed the “Prespes Agreement/Accord”. The agreement was signed between Greece’s former Foreign Minister, Nikos Kotzias, and his counterpart Nikola Dimitrov who, according to the decision of UN’s General Assembly 47/225 that occurred on 4/8/1993, is the Foreign Minister of the “Second Party” (Greece’s northern neighbor having the capital city of Skopje). Furthermore, with the signing of this agreement on June 17, 2018 near the village of Psarades in the Prespes lake area of Greece’s northern region of Macedonia, the vast majority of Greeks feel the sovereignty of their country is in true danger. They have expressed vehemently yet peacefully and will continue to express their opposition to their government’s decisions in various democratic ways. Unfortunately, the Greek government has ignored the will of its citizens and has not allowed them to express their civil rights. We therefore want to impart to you that this government is not representative of its people. Seeking your assistance in the above matter, we would like to report the following to you and to the international community:
According to a number of independent Greek opinion polls undertaken by different organizations, 80% of Greek citizens are against the “Prespes Accord” because it ushers in an uncertain future for Greece’s national security and because the Greek Parliament passed it in a non-transparent and unconstitutional manner. The governments of many states and various non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have persuaded the present weak government in Greece that the accord is good for Greece, overlooking Greece’s neighbor’s irredentist/expansionist attitude since its birth about 27 years ago. The danger lies in the fact that in addition to the country’s proposed name “North Macedonia”, the accord recognizes – or rather gifts – the multiethnic population of the neighboring country with a “Macedonian” nationality/identity and “Macedonian” language, using a name and concept that solely and strictly belong to the Hellenic realm. A dangerous precedent has been set by the accord when it recognizes a nation of “Macedonians” who speak a “Macedonian” language (despite the country being a kaleidoscope of multiethnic citizens), when it allows a monopolization of a country code to be “MK/MKD” (despite giving the country the compass qualifier “North”), and when it creates many “Macedonian” identities/interpretations in a culturally sensitive region of South East Europe. Expansionist passages in the Constitution of Greece’s neighbor have not been officially removed as promised. For example, the expansionist concept of the Communist “Anti-Fascist Assembly for the National Liberation of Macedonia” (ASNOM) still remains as a raison d’être for Greece’s neighbor’s existence in its Constitutional Preamble. The accord ignores the international legal entitlement that Greece has to the name “Macedonia” and ignores the proper legal protocol of using the maxim prior in tempore potior in jure. Therefore, it relegates the title holder of the name “Macedonia” (Greece) to a mere regional entity, stripping its citizens of the cultural brand name “Macedonia” and gifts it – without concern for the consequences this has for Greece – to a “Second Party” that was not the first modern country/nation to use this name in any official capacity. Apart from the promotion of a “Macedonian” nationality (ethnicity) and language, it crudely leaves the historic and commercial use of the Hellenic name/brand “Macedonia/n” to chance, and “good faith [bilateral] dialogue” thereby abandoning Greek companies and trademarked Greek goods with no guarantees of protection. Against international norms mentioned above, the Greeks are demoted to a “regional status” while the newly minted “Macedonians” are promoted to “national status”.
Moreover, in accordance with the Constitution of the Hellenic Republic, the Greek government had no mandate from the Greek people to sign such an agreement. The Tsipras government however managed to persuade the Greek parliament to vote in favor of it using undemocratic and unconstitutional means. It was a laborious task for the governing SYRIZA party, especially with a lean majority, plus an additional eight deputies from other minor parties who Prime Minister Tsipras managed to convince (through behind the scenes dealings) to vote in favor of the Prespes Accord.
While both governments in Athens and Skopje were struggling to impose their will on their citizens and thrust the Prespes Agreement onto them (a referendum took place in Greece’s northern neighbor last year that only 36% of its eligible voting population participated, but was unconstitutionally claimed as being successful by their government using questionable explanations) thousands upon thousands of Greek citizens in Greece and abroad were rallying peacefully against it, culminating in almost two million on January 20, 2019 at the rally in Athens in front of Greece’s Parliament building. Despite the peaceful protests, SWAT teams deployed by the government tear gassed and attacked all demonstrators. Among the victims were elderly (including some members of the clergy), women, and children who were frantically fleeing to avoid the noxious and arguably dangerous chemical weaponry (made in Brazil) that was used way past its expiry date. Many individuals including children ended up in hospitals. It is only by a miracle that there were no stampede victims. These measures of violently suppressing protests against the Tsipras government’s policies have been taking place on a regular basis since the accord was signed. We remind you that this is taking place in the land where democracy was born, and taking place in our European Union.
To the Greek government’s dismay, these rallies are multiplying by the day but unfortunately all major Greek media, including the state-owned and run ERT channel, have not covered a single rally. Furthermore, when a news item is reported regarding opposition to the accord, the demonstrators are presented as “extreme right-wing nationalists”, and “neo-Nazis” – descriptions that could not be further from the truth. To add insult to injury, Prime Minister Tsipras lied (regarding the numbers of people that participated in the Athens rally) to his counterparts from France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, and Malta during the fifth Summit of the Southern European Countries in Nicosia, Cyprus this past week. Moreover, he tried to convince his foreign counterparts that most of the Greeks support the Prespes Agreement. Finally, he traduced and insulted (in an international forum) the Greek people who participated in the recent rally describing them as far right nationalists and mindless opponents to the Prespes Agreement.
(We invite you to view Annexes I-III for reference).
For the sake of democracy and its survival, for the sake of justice and international law, and for the sake of the competency of what we all hold dear in this European Union, we ask you to heed the warnings of the Greek people, and question what you are presented by a Greek government that has lost all leadership representation, constitutional respect, democratic ideal, and credibility in the eyes of the Greek nation.
WORLD PAN-MACEDONIAN ASSOCIATIONS
Pan-Macedonian Association of USA
President: Dimitris Filippidis
Pan-Macedonian Federation of Australia
Coordinator: Peter Jasonides
Pan-Macedonian Association of Canada
President: Dr. Christos Karatzios
Pan-Macedonian Association of South Africa
President: Amyntas Papathanasiou
Pan-Macedonian Federation of Canada
President: George Papadakis
Pan Hellenic Federation of Cultural Associations (Greece)
President: George Tatsios
On behalf of millions of the Hellenes and all Philhellenes who oppose the Prespes
Links to videos showing:1) The massive gathering of nearly 2 million people at the Athens rally against the Prespes Accord (January 20, 2019):
(Accessed February 3, 2019).2) Peaceful rally organizers being forced to flee the tear gas and prematurely cancel the Athens rally against the Prespes Accord (January 20, 2019):
(Accessed, February 3, 2019)3) Prime Minister Tsipras overheard lying to Southern European counterparts, and mocking the Greek people at the Summit of the Southern European Union Countries in Nicosia, Cyprus (January 29, 2019):
(Accessed, February 3, 2019)
Photos courtesy of: iefimerida.gr, and newpost.gr, protothema.gr, among publicly posted material by various individuals (Athens rally against the Prespes Accord, January 20, 2019. Crowd estimate: 1,500,000 – 2,000,000 people):
Public photos (and some courtesy of protothema.gr) from the largest 2 (of the more than 140) rallies that occurred throughout Greece in 2018 against the Greek government’s course to enter negotiations with Skopje leading to the Prespes Accord.
Thessaloniki, January 21, 2018 (crowd estimate 750,000 – 1,000,000 people):
Athens, February 4, 2018 (crowd estimate 1,000,000 – 1,500,000 people):
A comparison between crowds and at the centre aspect of the two Athens rallies
(February 4, 2018 and January 20, 2019):