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Greeks take turkey to the mat over 'Macedonia'

Ireland's decision to send Dustin the Turkey -- a crass puppet who rides around in a shopping cart -- as its representative to the Eurovision Song Contest was met with mixed reviews by audience members last month. But the Irish aren't the only ones calling this turkey "fowl." Once again, because of the Macedonia name issue, the Greeks are up in arms.

At one point in the turkey's song "Irelande Douze Pointe" ("Ireland Twelve Points," in reference to the maximum points each country can give a contestant), Dustin sings, "Eastern Europe we love you, do you like Irish stew, or goulash as it is to you?" then proceeds to list countries in Eastern Europe one by one, including Macedonia (check here for clearer audio -- the lyrics are pretty great).

Ever since Macedonia's independence in 1991, Athens has argued that the name "Macedonia" is a part of Hellenic cultural heritage and that the former Yugoslav republic expresses territorial claims on northern Greece by using it. Now, thanks to Greek paranoia, rumor has it that Dustin the Turkey will have to join the U.N. in calling the country FRY Macedonia ("The Former Yugoslav Republic of...") in his lyrics.

But the name issue gets far more serious on the security front. Macedonia hopes to be invited to join NATO at the Bucharest Summit this coming Wednesday, but an invitation requires the unanimous support of existing NATO members, including Greece. Despite months of U.N.-supervised negotiations, neither Athens nor Skopje seem capable of coming to an agreement any time soon, spelling trouble for Macedonia's NATO aspirations.

Greece may have Macedonia in a NATO bind, but come May we'll see who gets the last Eurovision laugh. With acts like this as the winning standard, it's really anyone's game.

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