Changing the name of “Alexander the Great” Airport

The move would be a great way for Skpoje to prove its good faith at the negotiating table

By Georgia Logothetis, Managing Director, HALC

New life has been breathed into the negotiations over the name of the Former Yugolav Republic of Macedonia. The long-running dispute over FYROM’s use of the term “Macedonia” has been a sore spot between Greece and FYROM, not the least because FYROM has coupled its use of the name with an aggressive campaign to appropriate Hellenic history and, in an extreme instance, even show maps of FYROM extending into territory in northern Greece.

The core of FYROM’s Hellenization campaign rests on the legacy of Alexander the Great, the famous Greek general who was born in Pella, Greece to Philip II of Macedon. FYROM claims that makes him “Macedonian” — as in FYROM “Macedonian.” The campaign to claim Alexander the Great as their own has involved millions of dollars spent manufacturing history in Skopje, FYOM’s capital, and beyond, complete with massive statues of Alexander, his family and more.

Another key part has been the naming of Alexander the Great airport, so that all travelers to FYROM are first greeted by that identity and the huge statue of Alexander in the airport’s lobby.

There’s a new government in Skopje, one that is more open to rejecting this Hellenization campaign and working with Greece to come to a reasonable solution on the name issue.

A good first step would be changing the name of the airport. It would be a great good faith measure indicating Skopje’s seriousness in solving the name dispute. If you agree, share this story.

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