11 November 2008 SkopjeÂ – The Greek leading left-wing opposition party PASOK sacked its political communications advisor after he publicly said that Skopje has every right to be called Macedonia and that a Macedonian minority does exist in Greece.
After expressing these stances in an interview for one local TV station last Thursday Grigoris Valianatos heard from the public statement that his party made that he had been sacked due to â€œpersonal opinionsâ€ that contradicted PASOKâ€™s own.
â€œI was really shocked when I read the statement,â€ Grigoris Valianatos said. He argues that he underlined during the interview that the opinions are only his personal viewpoints.
Valianatos, who is also the author of various books, which until recently appeared on the personal website of the party leader George Papandreou is also surprised that they too suddenly disappeared from there.
Ever since the break-up of former Yugoslavia in 1991, Macedonia’s name and history has been the object of a dispute between Athens and Skopje.
The so-called ‘name’ row gained in momentum this April after Athens blocked Skopjeâ€™s application to join NATO, insisting Macedonia had to change its name first.
Furthermore, Skopje argues that there is indeed a Macedonian minority in Greece, which has been deprived of its human rights of cultural and national expression and education in its mother tongue.
Athens, on the other hand, says that the only true Macedonians are the Greek Macedonians.