One of Albania’s largest media companies reported that Greece is preparing to liberate Northern Epirus, a region in today’s southern Albania, when photographs of the Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus flag was seen as a patch on Greek military uniforms.
Syri news agency on Monday titled the article: “The scandal in the South / The army is being created to liberate Northern Epirus.”
Greek autonomy should exist in Northern Epirus under the Albanian state because of the Corfu Protocol signed on May 17, 1914, between the representatives of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of the Greeks of Northern Epirus, headed by Georgios Christakis-Zografos who was representing about 250,000 people, and the newly formed Albanian state headed by Prince William of Wied.
This was done with the mediation of the International Commission of the six Great Powers even though Greece liberated the region from Ottoman rule during the Balkan Wars. The Greek Army liberated the Greek-majority area, but the Great Powers decided to award the region to the newly formed Albanian state.
Syri said that photographs were sent “claiming that an army has been created in Greece to liberate Northern Epirus” as the flag of the Autonomous Republic of Northern Epirus was seen as a patch on Greek military uniforms.
The Albanian news portal said that the person who submitted the photos originally saw them on the Himara.gr Facebook page. Himara.gr is also the main media service of the Greek community in Northern Epirus.
Syri also said that “it should be noted that Greek nationalists continue to believe that the south of Albania belongs to Greece” and that they “have gone so far as to claim the need to liberate Northern Epirus.”
They continued to say that “with this latest move they seem to have sealed their idea of annexing southern Albania.”
“An army is being formed in Greece to liberate Northern Epirus. Look at the picture of the soldier holding the flag of the annexation of southern Albania,” the Albanian news portal added.
To this day, Greeks in Northern Epirus are discriminated against by journalists and politicians, as reported by Greek City Times. The Greeks also continue to have their properties confiscated without compensation, bilingual signs removed, and harassment from police and Albanian ultra-nationalists.
Perhaps the implementation of the Corfu Protocol needs to be re-explored for the approximately 120,000 Greeks still living in Northern Epirus so that they can better protect themselves from not only state harassment, but from ultra-nationalists who defile areas where Greek martyrs are buried.