In Greece, nationalists seek momentum amid Macedonia talks

Athens argues that its neighbour's name suggests that Skopje also has territorial claims to the northern Greek region of Macedonia.

In Greece, nationalists seek momentum amid Macedonia talks

World Bulletin / News Desk

A quarter of a century after Greece saw an unprecedented million-strong march in its name row with Macedonia, nationalists are trying to whip up similar sentiment amid a new push to solve the festering issue.

The region boasts the important port cities of Thessaloniki and Kavala and was the centre of Alexander the Great's ancient kingdom, a source of Greek pride.

Amid signs of a possible breakthrough, with new talks this week in New York between Greek and Macedonian negotiators, Greek nationalists plan to protest this weekend against any deal allowing Macedonia to use the name.

Greece's objections have already hampered Skopje's bid to join the European Union and NATO.

At the United Nations, Macedonia is known as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). But the Security Council acknowledged that this was a provisional name when it agreed to membership.

In 1992, at a time of nationalist fervour across the Balkans, over a million Greeks -- one in 10 of the population -- joined a rally in Thessaloniki, northern Greece's biggest city to proclaim that "Macedonia is Greek".

The weekend rallies in Thessaloniki and the southern Peloponnese peninsula will likely be much smaller.

UN negotiator Matthew Nimetz -- a 24-year veteran on the issue -- said he was "very hopeful" that a solution is within reach.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 19 Ocak 2018, 16:23