Everyone wants a piece of Greece and from what it looks like our neighbors are working very hard to destabilize our country. It started off with FYROM and the design to extend this small country all the way to Thessaloniki, then we began to see the same tactics being used in Thrace (eyed by Turkey), then we heard our own former prime minister talk about the autonomous country of Crete… and now its the central and western part of Greece and the Greater Albania! According to news reports a new political party in Albania is expected to make its debut very soon (or in this country’s next elections) and according to news reports in Athens it is actually claiming areas in Epirus, northwestern Greece, Florina and even Kastoria!
According to the “Katopsi” newspaper, the Puce Alliance, which is simply a nationalist association headed by Albania’s Vice President of the Supreme Council of Justice, Mr. Sipahi, is now going to become a political force and is actually planning to begin formally claiming half of our country! The news, which was featured in Greece on many blogs, as well as our source proinikordela, claims that specific radical extremists of this alliance, termed Greeks as “bloodthirsty” because we apparently ethnically cleansed the Chams about a hundred years ago.
Specifically, they said that Albanian regions were unjustly annexed to the Greek state in 1913 by the Council of Ambassadors. The historical developments, mass forcible transfers of the indigenous Albanian population and the lack of official data complicate what the Albanian regions are in Greece, as well as confuse what their social and economic problems are as well. These areas are located in north-western Greece, south of FYROM and
Albania to the south-east of the Gulf of Arta and consists of areas
such as ‘Tsamouria’, Florina, etc
They argue, in fact, that Tsamouria is the southwestern part of Lower Albania!
We here at hellasfrappe have put up with many stupidities… this is another one.
So who are the Chams. Following the Italian occupation of Albania in 1939, the Chams became a prominent propaganda tool for the Italians and irredentist elements among them became more vocal. As a result, on the eve of the Greco-Italian War, the adult male Cham population was deported by the Greek authorities to internment camps. After the occupation of Greece, large parts of the Muslim Cham population collaborated with Italian and German forces. This fueled resentment among the local Greek population and in the aftermath of World War II the entire Muslim Cham population had to flee to Albania. Most Chams settled in Albania, while others formed émigré communities in Turkey and the United States, and today their descendants continue to live in these countries. Since the fall of Communism in Albania, Chams have campaigned for right of return to Greece and restoration of confiscated properties.
The Greek government considers the Cham Issue a closed chapter in our country’s history. According to the Greek official position Cham Albanians will not be allowed to return in Greece because they simply collaborated with the Italian-German invaders during the Second World War, and as such are considered as war criminals and punished according to Greek laws.
Nonetheless, and in an attempt to address their claims in 1992 Prime minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis proposed a trade-off in relation to their properties, saying that only in cases:
- when it could be established that Chams had not convicted or participated in crimes against their fellow Greeks and their fleeing from the country was only due to fear.
- if the Albanian government would agree to mutually compensate ethnic Greeks who had lost properties due to persecution during the communist regime in Albania
Obviously… this proposal did not reach any results.
Former Albanian Prime-Minister Ilir Meta also raised this issue to his counterpart Costas Simitis back in the mid 90s but it was considered a move to just rally his supporters at home.
On an international scale, the Cham Issue has not gained any popularity, even though delegates of the Cham community have started began rallying since 1991 for this issue in an effort to internationalize it. Not suprisingly… the only country that actually supports these ridiculous claims is Turkey!
In fact Turkey is finding the Cham dispute which it finds is a useful tool with which it can hurt Greece. The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also accused Greece for the genocide of Muslim Albanians.
Ahhh… Some things never change… and then they want us to be friends with the Turks… oh brother!