(VMRO-BND members march with posters reading ‘Misya-Tracia-Macedonia’ and ‘VMRO: Macedonia is Bulgarian’. Photo: VMRO-BND website)
Bulgaria’s nationalist VMRO-BND party has accused Athens of trying to “usurp” the name Macedonia from Skopje and claim its exclusive use.
According to a Balkan Insight report, VMRO-BND leader and Bulgaria’s Defence Minister Krasimir Karakachanov said Sofia also had an equal right to Macedonia.
On Sunday, in light of the massive demonstration in Thessaloniki against the use of the name ‘Macedonia’ by Skopje, the Bulgarian party issued a statement: “Greeks, you are not entirely right about Macedonia”.
The statement also criticized the slogan “Macedonia is Greek” that thousands of Greeks chanted on Sunday.
‘Look for compromise’
The Bulgarian party said it understands Greece’s claims that the name Macedonia does not belong to the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). However, it said it did not understand why it could not be used in a compound form.
“We Bulgarians can also claim these names and places, but we don’t because we believe the road ahead is one of camaraderie and magnanimity, not one of holdbacks,” the statement read, recalling Bulgaria‘s historic claim to Macedonia.
“Why would Athens wish to monopolize … this name? Didn’t thousands of people you now call ‘Slavic-speaking Hellenes’ die with this name in their mouths?” the party asks.
The statement accused Greece of wanting to completely usurp the name ‘Macedonia’, something that “cannot be tolerated”.
“We Bulgarians naturally stand by our Macedonian brothers in the ‘name’ dispute. And want an end to it. But without resorting to violence. Nobody can completely take away from the Macedonian people the right to use the name that our common ancestors used. Look for a compromise, but don’t twist arms,” the Bulgarian nationalists warned.