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Macedonia removes ancient Greek king’s statue from airport

March 1, 2018

FILE - In this Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011 file photo, visitors review the sculpture of Alexander the Great during the official opening of the new terminal building of Alexander the Great Airport, in Skopje. As another goodwill gesture to neighboring Greece, Macedonia's main airport has removed the 3-meter high monument of "Alexander the Great" from its main terminal building, it was announced on Thursday, March 1, 2018. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski, File)

SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — In a goodwill gesture to neighboring Greece, Macedonia has removed a prominent statue of the ancient Greek warrior-king Alexander the Great from its main airport terminal.

The 2-meter-high (6.5-foot) statue was placed there in 2011 as a gift from the Turkish concessionary TAV, which operates the capital Skopje’s airport. It was removed Thursday.

Macedonia’s previous conservative government, during its decade-long rule, erected lots of statues of Alexander and named the country’s main highway and Skopje’s airport after him. That infuriated Greece, which saw the campaign as an attempt to appropriate its history.

The two countries have disagreed for 27 years over the name Macedonia, which Athens says implies claims on its own adjoining province with the same name.

Macedonia’s new left-wing government says it will rename both highway and airport.

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