SDSM President Zoran Zaev released the fifth batch of phone-tapped materials Friday shedding light on PM Gruevski’s revengeful treatment of political opponents. The materials in question unambiguously show that in the wake of the 2011 elections and the subsequent shutdown of A1 Television, Nikola Gruevski, driven by personal and political vendetta, singlehandedly ordered and arranged the demolition of a multi-million construction investment, Kosomos, of businessman Fiat Canoski (MP elected on opposition ballot and main financier of the television). Gruevski personally initiated and controlled the pillage, ordered changes in urban plans to cover-up his actions, and arranged media sensations and manipulations to spare himself of international criticism.
In nine separate conversations with Minister of Transport and Communications Mile Janakieski, Gruevski comes out as the mastermind behind the entire operation, suggesting changes in urban planning regulations and mid-course paper correction from construction site to slot for “park with fountains” (recordings 2 and 3); the precise date demolition should begin, so to coincide with the “start of summer holidays” (recordings 4 and 5); making arrangements to pressure an investigative judge to withhold from stopping the demolition (recording 6); inquiring on details of the bulldozing, audibly rejoicing the success of the work done (recordings 6, 7 and 8); discussing how to obtain better media effect (recording 8); and developing a strategy how to quench criticism from the international community (recordings 7 and 9).
The last recording is particularly telling. Referring to a conversation he had with then-EU Ambassador to Macedonia Peter Sorensen when he was advised to be more careful about Rule of Law and media freedoms, Gruevski and Janakievski agree to knock down an unlawful object under construction in Gostivar (town in Western Macedonia, n.a.). “Don’t wait. And use TNT, it’s faster,” Gruevski says and consents to Janakievski’s suggestion to use an imminent meeting of mayors to instruct them in finding other objects that could be knocked down. “Just make sure it’s well covered by media,” Gruevski closes.
Canovski’s case is not only telling because it sheds light on Gruevski’s treatment of political opponents, that resulted in the shutdown of a business venture and the lay-off of over 400 people, but also because of the possible repercussions for the country due to the reparations asked by the businessman in his case filed in front of the European Court of Human Rights.
After SDSM’s press conference and Zaev’s hint that far more shocking revelations on the wiretapping scandal are to follow, including materials on election rigging, the name issue, the shutdown of A1 TV and eavesdropping on foreign diplomats, VMRO-DPMNE summoned its highest body, the Central Committee Saturday.
In the press release, the party called on its members to stand "strong and in tightened ranks" in defense of the "honor and national interests", insisting it would not let the opposition carry out its "shameful and destructive strategy... for the destabilization of the country" and the violent takeover of power. Using militaristic rhetoric, it also urged "all citizens to join this fight".
SDSM denounced this militaristic rhetoric.