Sunday, July 27, 2008

Salonika Airport should revert back to "Mikra"

Macedonian Diplomats have asked Greece to rename its "Macedonia" Airport in Salonika to its old name of "Mikra", Mina finds, though this is still unofficial.

This request was relayed to UN Mediator Matthew Nimetz in his last visit to Skopje and Athens.

Greek Diplomats aren't too concerned with this request because it wasn't in a written format rather it was only discussed. Athens also adds the name of the Salonika Airport wasn't added to the original document drafted in New York.

Macedonian Diplomats are confirming, this request, even though only verbal, is a response to Greek agressive tactics in the name negotiations since the Bucharest Summit.

Greece is still in pain after the renaming of Skopje's Airport into Alexander the Great, wishing they thought of it first. Athens has repeatedly asked the Macedonian Government to change the Airport's name, to which Athens got a reply to first change the Salonika Airport back to "Mikra".

A year before and during Macedonia's independence, the Greek Government went into a panic mode, renaming streets, schools, univerysity, airport into "Macedonia". Salonika's Airport was renamed to "Macedonia" in 1992, when Macedonia already gained its independence. The irony here being, Greece had spent 80 years to erase the word Macedonia from Aegean Macedonia, only later to double their efforts in branding everything as "Macedonia", and going as far as to tell their settlers they were Macedonians.

Currently, the discussion between the two Governments is aimed at resolving issues more as bilateral, and the only way to solve them would be for both sides to make compromises at the same time. However, at this moment, things look very far from any kind of a compromise.

Greece may be in a bit of more trouble than Macedonia, because Macedonia already had its elections, while Karamanlis' government had wanted to call early elections, but is now having second thoughts after a recent loss of points at the polls. The Two Party system in Greece is in trouble with Nea Demokratia and PASOK both tallying roughly 30%. The economy was viewed as the biggest concern for the population.

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