Greece Update Page: 4 of 6
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membership. Greece accepts the Court's jurisdiction, but Turkey does not. Greece
officially recognizes only a dispute over the continental shelf and referral to the Court
might mean acceptance of Turkey's multiple claims. Athens also wants Ankara to
rescind a 1995 casus belli declaration that authorized any steps, including military ones,
if Greece exercises a right to a 12-mile territorial sea as allowed under the Law of the Sea
Treaty. Greece is a signatory of the Treaty; Turkey is not. Greece also objects to Turkey's
infringements of Greece's claimed 10-mile air space over the Aegean and to Turkish
commanders' references to (Greek) Aegean islands/islets not named in treaties as "gray
zones" that must be demilitarized.
Macedonia. The former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia declared its independence
in 1991. Its territory covers 39% of the historic region of Macedonia; the remaining 51%
is in Greece and 9% is in Bulgaria. Macedonia asserts its right to use and be recognized
by its constitutional name, the Republic of Macedonia. Greece objects, claiming that the
name usurps Greece's heritage and conveys irredentist ambitions against Greece's largest
province, also called "Macedonia," which borders the former Yugoslav republic. Due to
Greek objections, Macedonia joined the U.N. in 1992 under the provisional name of The
Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), which is how Greece refers to it.
In 1995, Athens and Skopje signed an interim agreement to normalize relations and
settle all outstanding disputes except for the name, and Greece ended an 18-month long
trade blockade of FYROM. Since then, officials of both governments have met with the
U.N. Secretary General's personal envoy, U.S. lawyer Matthew Nimetz, to discuss the
name, but have not reached a mutually acceptable solution. Greek officials call for a
compromise composite name with a clear geographic qualifier, e.g. Northern Macedonia,
to be used everywhere.6 In April 2008, Greece, whose position is "no solution means no
invitation" for Macedonia to join NATO and the EU, vetoed Macedonia's membership
in NATO because no solution had been found. It argued that, because the name dispute
is not resolved, Macedonia had failed to meet what Greece said was the criterion of "good
neighborliness" required of new NATO members. All Greek political parties and the vast
majority of the public support the government's position, but the international trend in
name usage favors Macedonia, with 120 governments recognizing it as the Republic of
Macedonia. Athens and Skopje have said that they are willing to resume negotiations on
the name. Despite the name problem, Greece is a top investor in the FYROM and
bilateral trade is strong.
Other Regional Issues. Greeks and Serbs have particularly close ties based on
their common Orthodox Christianity, their alliance during the 20th century Balkan wars,
and Greek empathy during the division of Yugoslavia. Greece hopes that Serbia and all
of its Balkan neighbors eventually will become EU members in order to strengthen
regional stability. Greece sought a U.N. Security Council-legitimized, mutually acceptable
agreement on Kosovo to reassure Serbia and protect Kosovar Serbs. It opposed Kosovo's
unilateral declaration of independence as a needlessly hasty violation of international law
and perhaps because it might set a precedent for northern (Turkish) Cyprus.
s Interview with Angeliki Spanou, Tipos Tis Kiriakis, October 17, 2004, FBIS Document
6 "Greek Government Faces Difficult Political Choices on Macedonia Naming Issue," To Vima,
October 17, 2007, Open Source Center Document EUP20071021143001.
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Greece Update, report, April 17, 2008; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc806602/m1/4/: accessed December 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.