Friday, January 16, 2009

Getting Chummy Over Chameria (Northern Epirus - Southern Albania)

by Dean Kalimniou
Australian Macedonian Advisory Council
January 16, 2009

"It does not seem to be a good year for Greece. Greece seems to be losing ground on the Macedonian issue, it seems to have lost any sort of edge it ever may have had over Turkey and sits idly by as the Ecumenical Patriarchate is threatened by the Grey Wolves, with the tacit approval of the powers that be. Now Albania is repeating its irredentist claims and insulting the highest officer of Greece".

When the Greek Consul-General was asked why he has never deigned to respond to the invitation of the Panepirotic Federation of Australia's invitation to him to attend the annual doxology celebrating the liberation of Ioannina and the declaration of the autonomy of Northern Epirus in 1914, he smugly retorted: "Well, what do you want me to do? Invade Albania and kill all the Albanians so that you can all go and live there?" On another occasioned, he warned darkly: "Stop referring to Northern Epirus and then we will talk."Indeed, right up until the end of the Cold War.

Greeks who dared to voice concern over human rights abuses against Greeks in Albania were generally referred to as hyper-nationalistic, ultra-right wing radicals by certain sections of the Greek community and the press. Even after the fall of Communism, when it was apparent to all that the 'paradise' that Hoxha's Stalinist regime was supposed to be, was nothing more than hell on earth, those persons who had built their reputation and pride upon the maintenance of their particular ideology, found it hard to sympathise with the hapless Northern Epirots who have been persecuted for well on a hundred years now.

In scenes reminiscent of 1923, when Asia Minor refugees fled genocide to re-settle in Greece and were called Turks, the Northern Epirots who fled poverty and persecution to settled in Greece after 1992, were called Albanians and treated as objects of derision. Further, despite the fact that the various Epirot organizations that exist throughout the world have consistently striven to showcase human rights abuses in Albania, their task is Herculean. For they do not have to convince world opinion alone.

Firstly, they have to convince a doubting or contemptuous Greek world that is totally ignorant of what lies beyond its front fence and which, in its smug bourgeois comfort, still persists in labeling people who are only interested in the human rights of the Greek minority in Albania as fascists, that a sizeable minority just to the north of them is being harried out of its ancestral home and that further, its persecutors are making demands on Greek territory.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


According to weekly newspaper "Elefteros Kosmos" Pangalos during the debate in occasion to be voted the agreement of SAA with Albania by the Greek parliament, other all sad that: "Northern Epiriotes, those that do not stay in this country (Greece), are not considered part of the Greek nation. Others who live here, must be respect according to Greek constitution and laws".

The declarate has inspired the Greek nationalist organisation, which urge the former FM of Greece Theodoros Pangalos to ask for pardon for Norther Epirus people that have suffered systematically by the Albanian state.

Similar accuses addressed to Pangalos are made by the president of LAOS Party Georges Karatzaferis and other member of the Greek parliament during the seance debate.

Macedonia Protests Over Greek Minister Comments

Skopje has officially protested at the European Commission in Brussels over comments by the Greek Culture Minister that Macedonia will soon dissolve and be carved up between a 'Greater Albania' and a 'Greater Bulgaria'.

Macedonia’s mission in Brussels condemned the statements by Antonis Samaras as “counterproductive” for bilateral relations, and expressed concern that no one in Athens had denounced them yet, local A1 TV said.

Skopje and Athens have been locked in a dispute over Macedonia’s name for 18 years. In April last year Greece blocked Macedonia’s NATO invitation arguing that use of the name implies territorial claims over its own northern province that is also called Macedonia.
Albania Club Med construction starts after protest

By Benet Koleka
TIRANA (Reuters) - Construction work has begun on Albania's first Club Med seaside resort village, but only after police cleared away a roadblock set up by protesting villagers and made several arrests, officials said on Thursday.

Four years after the government gave the go-ahead, television pictures showed building equipment and heavy machines digging near the beach on the bay of Kakome, facing Greece's holiday island of Corfu.

Angry villagers say the developers have not obtained the correct building permit and the authorities had no right to let work begin before the appeals court has ruled on who owns the land -- the government or 129 local families.
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Greece ratifies the SAA between Albania and EU
Albanian Foreign Ministry,
Press Release

The Greek Parliament considered and voted the law passed by the Greek government for the Agreement of the Stabilization and Association between the European Communities and member states, on one side, and the Republic of Albania, on the other side. The ratification of this agreement is a real testimony of the fully support of Greece, as a neighboring country, as well as that of the other friendly community countries give to the reforms undertaken at home, as a strong encouragement for their deepening in the future.

We express our belief that the spirit of cooperation, in framework of the common European family, will contribute to the further intensification of the Albanian- Greek relations, towards the strengthening of the friendship between our two peoples, to the benefit of peace, security and prosperity in the region.

With the ratification of the SAA by the Helen state, conclude all the procedures of ratification by the member countries, by paving the way now to entering into force of the SAA. Ministry of Foreign Affairs takes this opportunity to express its gratitude to all the member countries for the ratification of SAA and expresses its belief that these countries will provide their support to the sooner integration of Albania into European family.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Photo: Protesters out of the Greek parliament

Under strong debate, mostly by the LAOS Party, the Greek parliament, approved the EU-Albania Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA).

Meanwhile, out of the Greek Parliament, the Northern Epirotean Associations in Greece, where protesting for the violation of the human rights in Albania by the government.

Greece was the last country that had not ratified the SAA with Albania by 26 states of EU.
Albania to hold parliamentary elections June 28

Albanian President Bamir Topi announced Wednesday that the country would hold parliamentary elections in late June. The elections will be held on June 28.

The Albanian parliament has 140 seats and a four-year term. The last parliamentary elections held in July 2005 were marred by irregularities and violence.

Former president Sali Berisha's Democratic Party won the majority in the elections but had to form a coalition government with other parties.
Greece:Dangerous lack of security


Greece is in great need of a professional and well-organized police force that will dismantle the new terrorist groups, that will free Athens from the fear of anti-establishment youths and which will effectively tackle the new and extremely dangerous forms of crime.

Public safety has become a top priority for this country. The kidnapping of Greek shipping magnate Pericles Panagopoulos at gunpoint in an Athens suburb yesterday morning underscores the alarming lack of security. After all, the incident is only the latest in a long series of deeply disconcerting events.

Most certainly, the state has an obligation to protect its citizens against these three threats.
But there is no doubt that the state must also take great care to enforce the law without violating individual rights and freedoms.

The police must avoid going to extremes. In addition, critics must stop their groundless charges of a “police state.” This country is mature enough to have a strong democracy and at the same time a strong state.
Media Watchdogs Pan Albania Government

Reporters Without Borders has criticized Albania's government over allegations that is trying to close down a Tirana daily newspaper because of its critical coverage of corruption and scandals.

The daily Tema newspaper has focused on investigative reporting, many of its stories attacking officials for alleged graft and corruption. Last Friday, police evicted it from its offices in a government building, despite a court order blocking the eviction.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009




The Berisha Plan to Seize Greek Minority Properties,
Ethnic Cleansing under the Cover of Development,
and Albania’s European Course.

Albania’s Berisha Government appears to be demonstrating in word and deed that it is not ready to join the European Union family of nations as it violates not only foundational property and minority rights, but also basic legal principles.

Early Friday morning 9 January, about 200 riot units of the Albanian police raided Kakomaia (Alb. Kakome, in the province of Cheimarra [Alb. Himare] on the Ionian Sea) with a view to assisting Riviera Sh.P.K., a private company, forcibly to seize the land properties claimed by local residents, who happen to be ethnic Greeks.

The land in question totals about 70 hectares, the ownership titles of which belonged for centuries and until 1945 to residents of the nearby village of Nivitsa, and were expropriated by the Communist regime of Enver Hoxha. After the collapse of the Hoxha regime in 1990 the successor Albanian government did not return the land to its rightful owners, as it did in most other parts of the country.

Albania Issues New IDs, Biometric Passports

UK passport in the burgundy EU colourAlbanians rushed to apply for new identity cards and biometric passports, a key requirement for future visa-free travel to the EU.

The new documents are seen as crucial to avert election fraud in the upcoming parliamentary election in June. They have also been one of the conditions of the European Union before it will include Albanian in its 'White Schengen List' that allows visa-free travel to and within the bloc.

“Albanian citizens are getting now first-class documents, allowing them to travel more freely abroad,” Prime Minister Sali Berisha said on Monday, when officially oping the application process.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Northern Epirus (Southern Albania) - Between a rock and a hard place

Australian Macedonian Advisory Council
January 12, 2009

Elections in Albania over the past years have been treated with foreboding by the Greeks of Northern Epirus, especially given that all polls gave the notorious Dr Sali Berisha a clear lead. Sali Berisha, the leader of the Democratic Party was Prime Minister during the infamous pyramid scandal of 1997 that wiped out the life savings of a much of the population. His term in office was also characterized by anti-Greek sentiment, stemming from the bi-polarity of Albania, divided as it is, culturally and linguistically into north and south.

The southerners, Tosks by race are generally left-leaning and culturally close to Greece, while several hundred of thousand of them are also Orthodox Christians. They form the core support of the Socialist party which until recently, most Greeks have supported or at least sympathized with. The north, the heartland of Berisha country is conservative, anti-Greek and for the most part anti-Orthodox, as it is feared that the Orthodox Church within Albania is nothing but a front for Greek irredentist designs there.Indeed, as Prime Minister, Sali Berisha presided over one of the worst periods of Graeco-Albanian relations.

In 1991, Greek shops were attacked in the Northern Epirot town of Agioi Saranda while in 1994, Sali Berisha proposed an amendment to the Albanian Constitution, requiring that all heads of religious groups be Albanian born.
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Events for the 18th anniversary of "Omonia"

The 18th anniversary of its founding yesterday celebrated the political organization of the Greeks of Albania "Omonia". The events held in Dervitsiani, head of the Greek minority in the prefecture of Gjirokaster, where the leaders of 18 years ago found "illegality" from persecution for the structures of the communist regime and decided it was founded.

The events honored by the presence of the Greek Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis, members of the Greek parliament and the Greek origin of the Albanian parliament members, representatives of the diplomatic corps in Greece to Albania, member of "Omonia" and the Human Rights Union Party ( KEAD), which represents the political "collaboration" in the Albanian parliament and other guests.

Referring to 18c yaers course of "Omonia", the speakers highlighted the historic importance of its establishment, the successes, but also its weaknesses, stressed the need to play the "Omonia" to developments in the country and the region and welcomed the support organization on the European course of Albania.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


By Special Correspondent

Thirteen years ago this month, during a freezing, stormy night at the end of January 1996, Turkey sent its commandos to occupy one of the Imia rocks near the Greek Dodecanese island of Kalymnos.

Imia, a pair of uninhabited rocky outcrops like so many other similar ones in the Aegean clustering around larger Greek islands, had been chosen by the Turkish military establishment as the testing ground of Greek reactions in Ankara’s Aegean play of threats of the use of force, ongoing and unbroken since the invasion of Cyprus in 1974.

The Imia crisis had been carefully choreographed; the commando landings came last in a string of actions that included the refusal of a stranded Turkish merchant captain to accept Greek SAR assistance, thus demonstrating the Turkish non-recognition of Greek SAR jurisdiction nearer the Asia Minor coast, and the arrival of Turkish heliborne “reporters” on Imia to hoist a Turkish flag, which was pulled down by the Greek military.


The Himara Union

Press Release

On Wednesday, January 14 at 5 pm The Himara Union, will organize protest gathering in front of the Greek Parliament to inform the Greek parliamentarians and the Hellenic people for the enormous injustice that occurs from the Albanian state to crash the Greeks in Northern Epirus, while the Greek parliament will discuss the ratification of the Stabilization and Association Agreement between Albania and the EU.