Athens (AFP) – One of Greece’s new crop of Olympics gold medalists, markswoman Anna Korakaki on Sunday blasted a name deal with neighbouring Macedonia as a sell-out and a “betrayal”.
“Ultimately they are for sale,” the 2016 Olympics 25-metre pistol gold winner said in an Instagram posting with the hashtag ‘betrayal’, apparently referring to the name and identity of Macedonia.
“As a Greek of Macedonian descent… I am sorry,” said the 22 year-old from the northern city of Drama, posting a picture of herself beneath the statue of Alexander the Great in Thessaloniki.
After a 27-year dispute, Greece on Sunday signed a provisional agreement to call its northern neighbour the Republic of North Macedonia, and accept its citizens’ nationality and language as Macedonian.
Many Greeks say this is an insult to history, and opposition is strongest in the northern Greek region of Macedonia, the seat of Alexander the Great’s ancient kingdom.
“All those who act with disrespect to the history, the struggles and the dead of this country and contrary to popular will… I politely ask, do NOT stand next to me for a photograph in the event of future success,” she said.
A Yugoslav republic formerly known as Southern Serbia and Vardar Banovina, Macedonia received its name during the rule of Marshal Tito and retained it after declaring its independence in 1991.
The area has a troubled history. After the fall of the last Macedonian king, it was successively ruled by the Romans, the Byzantines, the Bulgars, the Serbs and the Ottomans.
By the 19th century, Macedonia had become a melting-pot of cultures before being divided between Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia, the precursor of Yugoslavia, in a 1913 treaty that followed a decade of warfare.