TOP Analysis, Prognoses and News about Greek - Albanian Relations and the Region.
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Macedonia, Albania Aim To Turn Page On Encyclopedia Dispute
Wednesday, 2 May 2012
June, the Macedonian and the Albanian academies of arts and sciences
will form a joint co-operation council that will offer a different
interpretation of the history of relations between the Macedonian and
"By the constitution, such a body … will solve problems and open
questions," Gudar Beciraj, president of the Albanian Academy (ACS),
Science should lead the way to dialogue, not conflict, Macedonian
Academy (MANU) President Vlado Kambovski said. "A Balkan academy is
needed to solve all open questions regarding history and science."
The two academies' members will meet in June in Ohrid to address the open issues between Macedonians and Albanians.
"Macedonians and Albanians have common history. The same rulers ruled
and used the same measures towards them both. Whatever the truth about
the Macedonian-Albanian relations, it should be viewed from more
sides," Rizvan Sulejmani, professor at Tetovo State University, told
One of the key issues to be addressed is the Macedonian Encyclopedia.
Albanians dispute the book because it says they are newcomers to the
Balkans and not native to Macedonia.
A wave of criticism in 2009 ceased publication of the book.
The encyclopedia is a project of MANU's Lexicographic Centre. More than
250 academy members, university professors and researchers created the
two-volume encyclopedia over the course of seven years. It covers 9,000
people, concepts and events from all time periods within the
geographical boundaries of Macedonia, from prehistoric to contemporary
The encyclopedia describes Albanians as "mountain people" and says the
nation descended in Macedonia together with the Ottoman Empire in the
The ASC says these views are nationalist, and called on their
Macedonian colleagues to reconsider the publication for the sake of
"truth in history and good neighbourhood relations."
"All statements in the encyclopedia are based on proof and documents
which are verified. If some do not like facts, it does not mean the
facts should be changed. Let them prove they are native to these
lands," Gjorgi Malkovski, historian and one of the encyclopedia
authors, told SETimes.
"The attempt to change the Macedonian encyclopedia in the interest of
Albanians will degrade Macedonian historical science, which has made a
tremendous progress," he added.
"The Macedonian Academy [MANU] is forming a new team to produce a new
encyclopedia which will contain statements that will be acceptable to
the Albanians. But nothing will come out of that effort. After all, is
MANU interfering in the publishing and content of the Albanian
Encyclopedia? In it, Macedonians are not even recognised as people but
are assimilated into phantom 'Slavomacedonians'," the book's editor and
veteran academy historian, Blazhe Ristovski, told SETimes.
Despite the efforts to smooth relations, historians are unanimous that history is not subject to goodwill agreements.
"We have seen similar efforts regionwide -- primarily from Greece and
Bulgaria -- to legally 'solve' the gaps in their national historical
narratives, including by attempting a political diktat or political
agreements, especially towards Macedonia," historian Violeta Achkovska