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Macedonia (i/ /mas-i-DOH-nee-ə; Macedonian: Македонија, tr. Makedonija, IPA: [makɛˈdɔnija]), officially the Republic of Macedonia (Macedonian:  Република Македонија (help·info), tr. Republika Makedonija), is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991. It became a member of the United Nations in 1993, but, as a result of an previous dispute with Greece over use of the name Macedonia, it was admitted under the provisional description of "the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia" (Поранешна Југословенска Република Македонија, tr. Poranešna Jugoslovenska Republika Makedonija), abbreviated as FYROM.
The Republic of Macedonia is bordered by Kosovo[a] to the northwest, Serbia to the north, Bulgaria to the east, Turkey to the south, and Albania to the west. It constitutes approximately the northwestern third of the larger geographical region of Macedonia, which also comprises the neighbouring parts of northern Greece and a smaller portion in southwestern Bulgaria. The country's capital is Skopje, with 506,926 inhabitants according to the 2002 census. Other cities include Bitola, Kumanovo, Prilep, Tetovo, Ohrid, Veles, Štip, Kočani, Gostivar, Kavadarci, and Strumica. It has over 50 lakes, plus sixteen mountains higher than 2,000 m (6,562 ft). Macedonia is a member of the UN and of the Council of Europe. Since December 2005 it has also been a candidate for joining the European Union and has successfully applied for NATO membership.
Yugoslav Wars and Independence
The end of the Cold War also saw the demise of Yugoslavia, which arose from conflict in Slovenia. The end of the Ten Day war granted Slovenia its independence, but was far from the last of the fighting. Croatia then became the primary opposition to Yugoslavia in 1991. The following year, Macedonia was able to peacefully secede from Yugoslavia, but Bosnia began to rise up in a separate but concurrently to the Croatian War of Independence. While both Croatia and Bosnia were seeking nationality, slowly but surely the Serbs were mounting to settle other disputes within Yugoslavia. By the end of 1995, all was quiet again, perhaps too quiet - no thanks to the Serbian government. 1998 came about with Kosovo beginning its attempt to thwart pressure from Serbia by dealing with the conflict over the Kosovar Albanian population, which required the intervention of NATO (American forces in particular). Though things appeared to die down after that war in 1999, there was an insurgence in Macedonia resulting from the War in Kosovo that saw three UN monitors and a British soldier among the casualties during the conflict that led to Kosovar Albanians being forced out of the Kosovo Province of Yugoslavia into a large region of the Sar Mountains, which included the Macedonian city of Tetovo.
Dispute with Greece
Following its independence, Macedonia found itself in an uncomfortable position with neighboring Greece. The issue was long before the new nation's independence, but was further fueled with the flag and name used by Macedonia. Because Greece calls the region which occupies part of the Chalcidic Peninsula as "Macedonia," they had refused to recognize the "Republic" by adding "Former Yugoslav" to precede it. Such would be continued in use until another such compound name is acceptable by Greek parameters. Further sparking political intrigue was the argument on whether Alexander the Great was in fact Macedonian or Greek. Born in Pella, the now renowned former ruler was associated with the symbol of the Vergina Sun. This symbol was used on the second Macedonian flag (the first being temporary as it was predated to its time in Yugoslavia), which did not take to the Greek government very well. For three years, the two sides were at odds regarding the matter until an interim accord was reached. In addition, the naming of various public works on behalf of Philip and Alexander were seen by Greece as deliberate by Macedonia, thus delaying talks regarding Macedonian entry into NATO and the EU. Greece, however, violated the aforementioned accord (according to the United Nations International Court of Justice) by vetoing Macedonia's 2008 bid to be included in NATO.
Albanian and Bulgarian Separatist Movements
In 2009, a portion of Western Bulgaria saw its Macedonian minority petition to secede from the country. This was met with political opposition, but due to the lack of profit the government was pursuing from the region there was no contest and Macedonia was notified of the intent by the Macedonian-Bulgarian minority to be absorbed. This, however, also reopened the 2001 insurgence, in which the blurred Albanian and Macedonian inhabitants now sought to reshape the border. Macedonia determined where the Albania-Macedonian population was heaviest outside of the greater Tetovo area and gave that land back to Albania.
Great Macedonian War
Finally fed up with Greece to change its name, Macedonia enlisted the military help of its allies. As they began to plan during the debt fallout crisis in Greece, Macedonia approached the US, UK, and Australia to discuss diplomatic relations with Turkey. Though Turkey had friendly relations with Greece, they saw the advantage of the crumbling country's financial collapse. Whilst the banks were again shut down, a Greek Civil War ensued on 15 July 2014. Turkey approached the Greek national forces with the motive of sabotage while the United States is the lead for the rebel Cretian forces after discovering corruption in the government had led to the backing of Russia in the Syrian conflict. With the joint two-pronged attack, the Nationalists fall out after infighting after handling the aftermath of the Sparta Incident on 1 October 2015. This in turn had allowed the Turks to commandeer portions of the government in Athens, which gave them power to lead the Nationalist troops. As a result, they "declared surrender"on 10 October with the Cretians unaware of the Turkish influence. An announcement was made that Turkey would "bail out" the country, but in actuality was reshaping its own borders. As promised, Macedonia was granted the requested land by Turkey on 2 November. Turkey would also help establish Crete as an independent nation by 5 November. Having realized what had happened, what was left of the Greek Nationalist regime declared that an armistice and ceasefire was reached in Cairo, Egypt on 7 November in an attempt to save the country from financially taking in further debt from the war. With the fate of the country at the mercy of the Turks, Greece was wholly dissolved, but still allowed for common practices with the exception of introducing the Turkish lira to integrate the economy. However, Macedonia rescinded its interest in joining the European Union but was unofficially accepted as a NATO member on 26 November, ahead of the 2016 NATO Summit to be held in Warsaw, Poland. Macedonia's application is planned to be the first order of business during the summit and is expected to be admitted to NATO by the end of day one.