USA: GREECE STILL DOES NOT RECOGNIZE MACEDONIAN MINORITY
Greece continues to deny the existence of Macedonian minority on its territory and to pressurize that members of Greek society. This is stated in the Report of the US State Department on human right practices in 190 countries across the world in 2007, publicized late Tuesday.
The report for Greece states existence of citizens that identify themselves as Macedonians, Turks, Pomaks (Slavic speaking Muslims), Vlachs, Roma, Arvanites (Orthodox Christians who speak a dialect of Albanian). Many individuals who defined themselves as members of a "minority" found it difficult to express their identity freely and maintain their culture, State Department says.
The report states that persons that identify themselves as ethnic Macedonians are victims to the application of the law, which allows taking away citizenship from "persons who commit acts contrary to the interests of the country for the benefit of a foreign state".
"The governments enforces the law in virtually all cases against persons who identified themselves as ethnic Macedonians, whereas the number of such cases has never been revealed, is said in the report. The government did not recognize the Slavic dialect spoken by persons in the northwestern area of the country as Macedonian, or as a language distinct from Bulgarian. Most speakers of the dialect referred to themselves as "natives," while a small number of Slavic speakers insisted on using the term "Macedonian," a designation that generated strong opposition from the ethnic Greek population," the report states.
This population claims that Greek authorities for many years pursued a policy designed to discourage use of their language.
Government officials and the courts denied their requests to identify themselves using the term "Macedonian," because approximately '2.2 million ethnic (and linguistically) Greek citizens already use the term to identify themselves'.