“Greater Albania” or more diplomatically “Natural Albania” is a concept flaring up day by day in our troubled neighborhood except we don’t pay due attention to it as being taken up by the Memorandum as well as by the memorial of our employment rights. As the statistics indicate it is about a concept that inflames the hearts of many Albanians throughout the Balkans. It is an idea that has been impelled at the expense of the regional stability while Greece is still financing Albanian economy at any cost. Nevertheless it is an idea that is beginning to puzzle Europeans up outright and Americans to a lesser extent. You see, the Superpower has backed such an idea up with its credit. How could it possibly denounce the Albanian liberation struggle now when it politically and legally had supported Serbia’s dismemberment and Kosovo’s secession?
We should rather focus on three pieces of news mentioned as following:
1) The annual survey on the Balkans published (12/09/2010) by the international poll company Gallup in cooperation with the European Fund for the Balkans pointed the issue of the Greater Albania out as one of the major issues in the region. The survey shows that a large majority of Albanian national conscience residing in a number of states throughout the region stand favorably towards the possibility of a greater and a single state within which all Albanians would be concentrated, although they seem to be skeptical about the time of its occurrence. Briefly, 62% of the polled people in Albania, 81% in Kosovo and 51,9% in FYROM thump creating a communal country for all Albanians of the region. Comparing such a survey to previous ones that the same company has conducted, one safely concludes that percentages have risen up in Kosovo and FYROM within the past 2 years.
In the same survey, the leaders of Albanians who have remained within Serbian sovereignty declare that very soon the region of Presevo is destined to follow Kosovo suite that is to secede Serbia. The leaders of Albanians themselves have set 2015 as due time at which their aim of Greater or “Natural” Albania should come true. In meetings among Albanians from all over the Balkans, taking place in Tirana, there has been an ongoing discussion about constituting a body under the title “List of Natural Albania”. Participating political representatives of Albanian parties and communities believe that there is an Albanian minority in Greece in which “Natural Albania” should show an ardent interest. As it is understood, the term “Natural Albania” implies that unification of all Albanians from Balkans in a single country would be considered as much natural as fair.
2) The Muslim Chams of Albania, relatives and descendants of criminals of war during 1941-44 are claiming free entry to Greece so that they wish to commemorate, as their press release stated, their… genocide by the Greeks happened on June 27, 1944. Given that Albanian citizens will be permitted to travel all around E.U. without a visa, the leaders of the Albanian nationalistic movements are intending to honor such a “Day of the Genocide” –as the call it- in Igoumenitsa. It should be recalled that out of 19.000 Muslim Chams eluded the exchange of peoples in 1923, 1.900 of them were charged and convicted by Ioannina Court for Traitors as collaborators to Italian-German occupants and as liable for crimes against Greeks in Thesprotia. The guerilla forces of N. Zervas were chasing them away while they took refuge in Albania. Right after that they were sentenced by default and their properties were confiscated. Today the large political parties along with the press in Albania support the Chams organizations’ revanchism. I personally believe that they are taking advantage of such a supposed human rights’ issue (return of people and restitution of properties) counterplotting to the tangible issue of oppression of N. Epirotan Greeks. For as long as Athens keeps quiet or speaks low on the rights of the Greek national community in Albania, the propaganda of the Chams and their supporters will take more liberties.
3) The idea of a “Greater Albania” has apparently alarmed certain people in Europe who started to admit facts that they were unwilling to view while Serbia was being bombed. I am specifically referring to a European Council’s report drafted by Dick Marty in which there are serious charges pressed against the Prime Minister and winner in the recent elections in Kosovo, Hasim Thaci, as regarded to be deeply involved in serious illegal activities, even in Serbian POW’s organs trade. That report caused Thaci’s fierce reaction but the issue is to be discussed about on January 25, 2011 during the European Council’s Parliamentary Assembly. For a fair observer it is worth noticing why NATO, FBI and other western agencies offered such data to that report’s drafter while they preferred to remain silent so far. Perhaps they would rather not affect the International Court of Justice’s conviction that considered Kosovo’s secession from Serbia as lawful without convincing legal ground.
Greek diplomacy has to prepare in order to confront the Chams as well as the “Natural Albania’s” propaganda in international arenas. We also should make it clear by all means that we pay due respect to every hardworking Albanian residing in our country however we are not going to accept nominating such temporary residents in our country to an acknowledged minority. The only objective minority issue in the Greek-Albanian relations remains Hellenism in Albania.