Turkey backs Macedonia in name row with Greece

Turkey backs Macedonia in name row with Greece

Turkey backs Macedonia in name row with Greece

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has supported Macedonia’s stance in its row with Greece about the country’s name.

“We have made our stance clear by being the first country to recognize Macedonia with its constitutional name and national identity and by appointing an ambassador,” Erdoğan said during a joint press conference with his Macedonian counterpart Gjorge Ivanov in the Turkish capital Ankara.

Macedonia was founded in 1991 and was admitted to the United Nations in 1993, but it had been accepted under the provisional name of the “Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” (FYROM), due to Greece’s objection to the name Macedonia. Some 118 countries, including Turkey, currently recognize Macedonia under its constitutional name.

Greece does not accept Macedonia’s name because it has a region by the same name in its north. Greece also argues that the former Yugoslav Republic has claims on its territory and its historical heritage.

Since 2017, negotiations have stepped up, as the new government in Skopje wants a deal over its name with Athens, which can veto its NATO and EU membership.

Ivanov thanked Erdoğan for Turkey’s “principled stance” over the name issue. The Macedonian president also voiced support for democratically elected Turkish authorities in the face of any kind of terrorism.