Open Letter to the Greek Prime Minister
From Dr. George Nakratzas
February 25, 2003
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To the Right Honourable
Prime Minister of Greece
Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
It was reported by the Macedonian
Human Rights Movement of Canada that last year three Canadian nationals of Macedonian descent had been
denied entry to Greece.
This latest incident took place on 30th May 2002: entry to Greece
was refused to Mr. Mendo Petrevski, a Canadian national of Macedonian
When representations were made by the Canadian Embassy in Athens,
the Greek authorities responded that nothing could be done because
Mr. Petrevski had no relevant documents from the Niki border post,
and did not know the name of the border official concerned in the decision.
If this accusation is true, then the official response of our government
to the Canadian Embassy in Athens does little credit to our country
- the country currently holding the Presidency of the European Union.
The Greek authorities must be perfectly well aware of the identity
of the official on duty at the Niki border post on 30th May 2002.
The fact that this Canadian national had no document explaining why
he was regarded as persona non grata in Greece, is entirely due to
the failings of our own authorities. In all such cases, as in the case
in question, the necessary stamp should have been placed in the Canadian
Sir, no country with any self-respect can insult a tourist on the
grounds that he has a suspect record without offering evidence to this
effect, or at the very least communicating these grounds to the individual
The truth is, however, that the facts of the matter are somewhat different.
It is well known that the border posts of the EU countries keep a
list of individuals whose entry is deemed undesirable. However, this
list contains the names of persons known for their criminal activities.
It is claimed - although I admit I have no certain knowledge of this
- that our border posts also keep a second, unofficial list of names
of individuals whose entry to our country is forbidden for purely political
reasons. More specifically, this list contains the names only of those
individuals who declare that they are ethnic Macedonians.
A similar incident in the relatively recent past involved a Mr. Karatzas,
a 78-year-old resident of the Republic of Macedonia, who was refused
entry to Greece. After international protests, and only following your
own wise intervention, this old man, a veteran of the Democratic Army,
was allowed to visit for the last time his village near Kastoria, the
village where he spent his childhood. I learned of this visit - with
great relief - from the man himself.
Do you not think that it is now time for this alleged second, unofficial
list to be abolished - the list which names ethnic Macedonians as personae
I ask you to imagine how we ourselves would react if we were to be
refused entry at the borders of neighbouring countries, simply because
we described ourselves as ethnic Greeks?
Dr. George Nakratzas
P.S. I beg to inform you that copies of this letter, translated into
English, will be forwarded to the 600 Members of the European Parliament,
as well as other interested individuals.