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Understanding Albanian-Greek Relations: Deconstructing Paradoxes and Myths

Two main issues have dominated Albanian-Greek relations during the last over-one hundred years, also coinciding with the modern history of the Albanian state: the issue of territorial/border disputes and the issue of ethnic minorities – both typical for two neighboring nations and states.

ALBERT RAKIPI, PhD Territorial, border and minority issues have historically been, and continue to be, the main source of tension in bilateral relations. They have fed a cyclical relation of crises with frequent ups and downs, interrupted by periods of cooperation only to return to a state of tension but never leading to conflict, in the classical sense of the word. At first glance, territorial/border and ethnic disputes seem to be a mediocre story between two neighboring nations, the states of which were established in context of the vacuum created from the withdrawal or fall of empires, as was the case of the Ottoman Empire’s withdrawal from the Balkans. In the following paper, I will discuss how and why territorial/border disputes and minority issues going back as far as the beginning of the twentieth century still serve as the main source of tension and instability. Another element to be discussed which makes the case of Albania and Greece unique, as much as paradoxical, is simultaneously being at war and in peace for territory/borders and minorities for which neither Greece nor Albania is currently contesting. Revisiting history Three main historical periods have defined the nature and problematic of Albanian-Greek relations during……

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