Greece on crises/negotiations over name ‘Macedonia’ (1992)

Suggested Citation: Neophytos G. Loizides, Greek-Turkish Negotiations and Crises 1983-2003 Dataset , Queen's University Belfast (available online at http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/CentrefortheStudyofEthnicConflict/TeachingResearch/Datasets/Greek-TurkishNegotiationsandCrises1983-2003/#d.en.173636)

Case Summary:  

Conflict over the name “Macedonia” as heritage and symbol of the ancient Macedonian Kingdom becomes a major issue of contention between Greece and the Macedonian Republic . G-Macname92 examines Greek crisis behavior over the Macedonian issue in 1992.  Lexis/Nexis provides 26 results for the terms “Greece,” “ Macedonia ,” and “crisis” for the period 1/15/1992 to 2/15/1992 (full text search under European News Sources).

Case Study Features

Effectiveness of Offensive Policies: 1

Greece enjoys a military advantage against its defenseless neighbor. It also has a geographic advantage over the Macedonian Republic , which is landlocked and highly dependent on Greek ports. Finally, Greece is stronger diplomatically and controls the recognition of the new republic within the EU.

Offensive vs. Defensive Signals Indistinguishable: 0

Efforts to protect the new state entity such as foreign relations with Turkey and national identity for instance the use of name Macedonia have an unintended consequence of alarming Greece . Yet a closer look at the demographics of the Macedonian republic suggests that there were no grounds for a Turkish-Republic- Macedonian alliance due to the Albanian factor and other regional considerations. There were also clear statements from the Macedonian leadership favoring demilitarization of the republic.[i]

Enduring Ethnic Rivalries : 1

Rivalries result from the bitter wars over Macedonia in the 20th century and the Greek civil war (1946-1949).

Domestic Challenges : 1

The Mitsotakis government has only a marginal majority in the parliament, and references to new elections are being made in the press. [ii] The weak majority makes it extremely vulnerable to pressure from nationalists, especially the young and charismatic Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonis Samaras. Because of this issue, ND MPs defect, while the Constantine Mitsotakis government loses power on October 13, 1993.  PM Andreas Papandreou wins his re-election by playing the nationalist card and outbidding all opponents in his defense of confrontational policies.[iii]

Confrontational Policies (dependent variable): 1

Between January 1992 and September 1992, Greece introduces an oil embargo against landlocked Macedonia .[iv]

[i] Alan Ferguson, “Macedonians fear war with Serbia,” Toronto Star, May 26, 1992, p.14; Tony Barber, “Macedonia leader asks Greece to be 'rational,'”  The Independent, August 28, 1992, p 8 ; Excerpts Yugoslav News Agency in English 1241 gmt 30 Oct 92, “President Gligorov says Macedonia would ‘gladly become a demilitarised zone,’” BBC Summary of World Broadcasts, November 3, 1992.

[ii] Tony Barber, “War clouds gather over Macedonia ”, The Independent, December 3, 1992, p.10.  

[iii] David B. Ottaway, “Greek Leader Plans 2-Tier Balkan Policy; Papandreou Vows Tough Stance on Macedonia,” The Washington PostOctober 12, 1993, p. A12.

[iv] Tony Barber, “Greece lifts its blockade on oil to Macedonia ”, The Independent , September 23, 1992 , p.8.  

[v] Helena Smith, “Macedonia Boycott Hits EC Partners”, The Guardian, February 29, 1992 , p.10.

[vi] Liana Alexandri, “Rally Against Recognition for Yugoslav Republic Draws 1 Million”,   The Associated Press, February 14, 1992The Toronto Star, “Huge protest in Athens against Macedonia ”, December 10, 1992 ,  p.18

Also during this period, an official consumer’s boycott takes place against Italian and Dutch products, because of the perceived anti-Greek policies of those two countries over the Macedonian issues. Minister Samaras argues that Greece has no need to apologize for the boycott.[v] Finally, two major demonstrations in Thessaloniki (February 14, 1992) and Athens (December 10, 1992) attract at least a million people each. [vi]