AHEPA-Canada, through its President George Vasilas, has sent a letter of protest to the National Post for its article about the leader of FYROM coming to the country and identifying him as the President of Macedonia. The piece stated that, “In an event that was overlooked by virtually every single newspaper, radio station and T.V. crew in the entire western world, the leader of two million Macedonians, President Gjorge Ivanov, conducted his first state visit to Canada this week”.
The article noted the longstanding dispute with Greece over the rights to the word Macedonia and explained that “Greece refuses to recognize the name because it is the same as that of the northern Greek province of Macedonia. Athens worries that this could imply a claim on its territory,” and said that FYROM was “the home base of conqueror Alexander the Great”.
AHEPA, basing its arguments on a letter sent to U.S. President Barack Obama in 2009 undersigned by 373 scholars of Graeco-Roman antiquity, said: We do not understand how the modern inhabitants of ancient Paionia, who speak Slavic – a language introduced into the Balkans about a millennium after the death of Alexander – can claim him as their national hero. Alexander the Great was thoroughly and indisputably Greek. His great-great-great grandfather, Alexander I, competed in the Olympic Games where participation was limited to Greeks.”
AHEPA said that FYROM follows a policy of extreme nationalism and provocative attitude against Greece and violated the UN Interim Agreement. Although FYROM does not embrace EU and NATO policies, Greece has been the largest source for foreign investments in the country, investments that reached 12.3 million euros ($16.15 million) in 2012.