Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov kept silent and out of the public eye during the several months of ethnically charged clashes in Macedonia. Then, in September 2014 he presented a speech before the UN Security Council, which touched on ethnicity in the Balkan region and even attempted to connect this to the blocked process of Macedonia's NATO integration, as well as with current global anti-terrorism efforts.
While many social media users commented and followed the conversation that was raised by the speech using the satirical hashtag #Хорхе, legal and political analyst Gjakush Kabashi elaborated on the topic in a more in-depth comment on his blog:
Ivanov opened his speech by saying that “Balkan fighters are grouped in ethno-national units”, contradicting the mission proclaimed by the terrorist groups alike ISIS, that have stated the objective of creating a state based exclusively on the specific religious identity. Western intelligence agencies are on the same page – recruits come from many countries, led by the joint cause of establishing a religious-based state. Therefore, this quote in the highest global forum indicates ignorance of great proportions, but also the tendency of blaming specific ethnic groups by identifying them with terrorism.
Another invention comes later on: the country is under the threat of a “Balkan Caliphate”. It again proves the lack of information – there is no such thing as “Balkan Caliphate”. Those led by caliphate ideas have launched their miserable campaign in order to occupy large and compact territories, paying less attention to the current geographic carving.
The key message was the trickiest, as it linked the foreign terrorists’ issue with the problems faced by Macedonia. It doesn’t suit allies to use blackmails, by saying that keeping Macedonia out of NATO constitutes a vacuum waiting to be filled sooner or later; this also lessens Macedonia’s evident contribution to global security.
Twitter user Andreja Bogdanovski also commented on this part of Ivanov's speech that many social media users from Macedonia have said begs commentary:
— Andreja Bogdanovski (@BogdanovskiA) September 26, 2014
Cvetin Cilimanov, a journalist who had served as President Ivanov's public relations aide before working for several years as a US correspondent for the state-owned Macedonian Information Agency and who has always openly expressed his right-wing tendencies, opined without irony that the speech was “historical”, in terms of being the first addressing such issues. Cilimanov also added that it would not contribute greatly to worsening US-Macedonia relations, because at the time of the speech, Obama had already left the UN session and would, even having heard the speech, not care too much about “the reprimand” issued by President Ivanov toward the US and its allies that underlined several parts of the speech.