On The Expansionism Of The Neighbouring Countries … And How The Greek State Officially Encourages Expansionist Ideologies

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Official publication of the Greek Parliament, under the supervision of the Geographic Military Service (GMS).

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In recent years more and more often we hear the statements of various Greek authorities, parliamentarians, government representatives, ministries, Prime Ministers, journalists and others, about the so-called 'expansionist propaganda of "Skopje"' against our country.

Typically, all the above mentioned who utilise such argumentation on the "expansionism of Skopje" have not attempted to enquire or consider the behaviour of our state on the issue of "expansionism".

The Greek Parliament in 2000 printed a map under the heading "Historical Map of Greece" where part of Turkish territory is presented as being part of the "unitary Greek world". Specifically, the territory of Asia Minor around Izmir, eastern Thrace, the islands of Imvros and Tenedos are presented as Greek territories.

The title of the map is "Historical Map of Greece" and the legend is headed "The Unification of Greece". In purple are marked the territories which "united" with the Greek state in 1920 and below, the Treaty of Sevres is mentioned, which partly satisfied the needs of the Greek "Great Idea" (Megali Idea). The very mention of "unification" serves to highlight the "unity" and "indivisibility" of Greek lands, which include the marked purple territories. Of course the nationalists and crypto-nationalists in our country can justify themselves by claiming that the map is not expansionist, but rather represents the real situation on the ground following the Treaty of Sevres in 1920. Well, a similar argumentation can be used by every Macedonian nationalist claiming the same for the Treaty of Bucharest of 1913 in which the well-known map with the division of the Macedonian lands between three states is not expansionist propaganda but rather represents the realistic situation at the actual time. So in actual fact, what is the difference between the title "Historical Map of Greece" (1920) from the title "Historical Map of Macedonia" (1913). Or what is the difference between a title that reads "The Division of Macedonia" and one that states "The Unification of Greece"?

Map from the Macedonian edition of Wikipedia

In the above-mentioned map of the Greek Parliament, in addition to the marking of the so-called "Greek zone of Izmir", the lands of southern Albania are named "Northern Epirus" (In Greece the northern part is officially called "Epirus"). If that is the case, why do certain circles protest at terms such as "Chameria" when attempting to name the Albanian part of "Epirus", the territory in which Albanians (Chams) lived until 1945 before they were driven out, or again when "Aegean Macedonia" is mentioned?

Moreover, how is it possible in the map under the sub-heading "The Unification of Greece" for Cyprus to be included? Why in the legend is the so-called "All-Cypriot referendum" for unification with Greece in 1950 and the 96% who voted "for" such a move included, while the position and situation of the Turkish-Cypriots is ignored, with the aim of giving an impression that close to the whole population wanted to "unite" with the Greek state? By describing the situation in that way, the neutral observer of the map gains the impression that close to the whole population is indeed a part of Greece or at the very least a second Greek state. Do Turkish-Cypriots now have the right to protest against Greek expansionism and irredentism endorsed by the official stamp of the Greek Parliament?

The 'wonder' of the above mentioned map is that it 'decorates' a large number of administrative buildings in Greece such as municipal offices, police stations and even Greek embassies abroad, which indirectly serves as propaganda in the service of the policy of "Megali Idea" (the doctrine of a greater Greece from the last century which advocates the idea of a Greece spread over two continents and surrounded by three seas). Similarly, it propagates the Greek character of Cyprus as well as the Greek character of southern Albania. The map even goes as far as to use the Greek terms "Monastirio" and "Stromnitsa" for Bitola and Strumica respectively which are in the territory of the Republic of Macedonia, while all toponyms in southern Albania (which by the way is called "Northern Epirus") are exclusively in Greek.

When such a map is issued on the initiative of the Greek Parliament and under the supervision of the Geographic Military Service and which to this day is continually being distributed by the highest organ of the state, that is the Parliament, how then will Greek diplomacy convince interlocutors from all places that "it is concerned with the stability of the region" and that "the expansionist ideologies of its neighbours (referring here to the Republic of Macedonia) are not contributing towards achieving this"?

Taken generally, when we speak of the Macedonian question in recent times, Greek diplomacy has lingered around the arguments surrounding the "cultural inheritance of Greece", "the theft of the name 'Macedonia' by Skopje" and other similar unserious arguments, which by the way, are met with ironic laughs by foreign interlocutors. Today, Greek diplomacy attempts to turn the question towards the so-called "expansionism of Skopje". History, in recent time, has been left to politicians of the likes of Karazaferis and the extremely nationalist Greek Orthodox Church whose arguments are attractive to the ears of the domestic public.

Unfortunately our diplomacy is trying for a second occasion to become a victim of the likes of Kofos, Mertsos, Samaras and other leaders of the Anti-Macedonian campaign of the 1990s, which with the assistance of recruited "scholars" largely turned the question to the issues of the "expansionism of the neighbouring state", forgetting that our house is already 'dirty' with such 'rubbish'. Well-known nationalist circles as well as Greek diplomats ever more frequently turn to the history schoolbooks of the Republic of Macedonia whose contents, according to them, are filled with irredentist aspirations towards Greece. So-called "scientific" studies have been written and books in Greece are published on this topic. Bilingual editions are published with the map of "Greater Macedonia" to be used by Greek diplomats, while the 'poor souls' have not even thought about the hundreds of maps in Greek textbooks which propagate Greek irredentism towards its neighbours, maps which are found not only in Greek school books, but also in publications of the highest bodies of the Greek state.

With this mind, it is not surprising for Greek diplomats to again be laughed at in foreign diplomatic circles, to return to the blind alley faced in the 1990s or at the very best to receive answers such as the one that the head of the Liaison Office of Greece in the Republic of Macedonia received on a recent visit to the Military Museum in Skopje, who in the company of Ms Milovanovic, the US Ambassador to Macedonia and the British Ambassador, tried to open the issue of Macedonian expansionism and the maps of Greater Macedonia in schoolbooks. Ms Dora Grossomandiou received the following answer from Ms Milovanovic:

"The above mentioned schoolbooks of "Greater Macedonia" as far as I am aware are available on the free market however they are not part of the educational material in schools."

Ms Milovanovic added:

"Is your government and the government of Macedonia prepared to form a joint commission to jointly write historical books and the history of the region in contemporary Balkan times" (extract from the Sunday edition of Eleftherotypia of 1.7.2007, text of Takis Mihas).

Therefore, until such time that an ideological reform in our state takes place in relation to formation of the so-called "Greek myth" that the Greeks are the 'chosen people' who are also direct descendants of the Ancient Hellenes; that this link continues through the centuries and that "holy" national interests exist; until such time that the conspiracy theory on the "foreign factor" is not reformed, Greek society will continue to be in a position of 'imprisonment' and 'intellectually closed-minded' to understand reality, while Greek politics will continue to be a victim of the likes of Kofos, Mertsos, Samaras and Papathemelis, while receiving slaps in the face and paying a high diplomatic price on issues of so-called "national interest".



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