by Aggelos Skordas
A few days after his proposal for a referendum to be held in Greece regarding the naming dispute with FYROM, Defense Minister and junior coalition partner Independent Greeks (ANEL) leader Panos Kammenos reverted to the issue of the neighbouring country’s name. Specifically, in a tweet posted by his official account Kammenos implied that FYROM -the government of which has entered a new round of negotiations with Greece on the longstanding dispute with high expectations for a solution that would allow the country to join the European Union and NATO- could use the name “Vardarska”.
Specifically, on Tuesday, the Greek Defense Minister tweeted a 1937 French map of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in which the area of today’s FYROM is referred to as “Vardarska”. A few days ago, Kammenos pointed out that there are Slavic terms, such as the above, which can be used and will not necessarily contain the term “Macedonia” in the central Balkan republic’s future constitutional name. Such a name is welcomed by Greece, he added.
Moreover, in an article for a Greek Sunday newspaper Kammenos stressed that the Greek people should have their say on such an important matter via a referendum. “The inclusion of the term ‘Macedonia’ in the name of FYROM will mean the shrinking of Greek culture, history, philosophy, arts, etc. for centuries to follow. Such a decision goes beyond the powers of any politician”, he underlined.
Vardarska (or Vardar Banovina) was the southernmost province of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, from 1929 to 1941. It included the whole of today’s FYROM along with southern parts of Serbia and Kosovo. It was named after the Vardar River and its administrative capital was the city of Skopje, also the capital of FYROM since the last gained its independence from the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1991.