Almost 4,5 years after the tragic fires in the Peloponnese, the culprits of this horrendous crime have finally been exposed. In an article in the “Demokratia” newspaper at the weekend a highly confidential document was revealed by parliamentarian Byronas Polydoras containing the names of seven intelligence officials from a FYROM organization, said to also hold Albanian passports, who apparently are responsible for this unforgivable crime.
The classified report was apparently documented by the intelligence division of the Hellenic Armed Forces (military secret services) and from there it was forwarded to the former Minister of Defense E. Meimarakis, while a copy was also sent to Minister of Interior, P. Xinofotis.
The 2007 Greek forest fires were a series of massive forest fires that
broke out in several areas across Greece throughout the summer of 2007.
The most destructive and lethal infernos broke out on August 23,
expanded rapidly and raged out of control until August 27, until they
were put out in early September. The fires mainly affected western and
southern Peloponnese as well as southern Euboea. The death toll in
August alone stood at 67 people. In total 84 people lost their lives
because of the fires, including several fire fighters.
Citing the classified document, the article in Demokratia said that the culprits were extremists of FYROM nationality and were working closely with the FYROM intelligence service. Among those accused are also formal officials, businessmen and people involved in the narcotics trade.
According to the article, the fires were aimed at destabilizing and weakening Greek national policy as well as creating political instability in view of FYROM’s accession to NATO. (FYROM’s accession to NATO happened several months later -or in 2008- in Bucharest.)
A total of 2,700 square kilometers (670,000 acres) of forest, olive groves and farmland were destroyed in the fires, which were the worst fire season on record. Of the total of 2,700 km², 1,500 km² (370,000 acres) were burnt forests in Southern Greece alone. Many buildings were also destroyed in the blaze. The fire destroyed 1,000 houses and 1,100 other buildings, damaging hundreds more.
Note: During the fires, an article appeared in the Avriani newspaper claiming that Kosovo Albanians had been tracked down by Greek intelligence officials for setting the fires. Here is the cover of the newspaper in 2007.