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Turkey pushes refugees to Greece despite closed borders, use HRW and New York Times as a propaganda tool

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Turkey is trying to gain political and economic leverage in the ongoing global adversity sparked by the spread of coronavirus. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan intensified the Turkey-Greece refugee crisis by pushing the Syrian refugees out of his country, who left Syria in search of a safer territory. Turkish security forces have been encouraging them (in some cases even torturing them by using violence and tear gas) to cross the border and enter Greece.

On the other hand, this influx of refugees has been blocked by Greek forces from entering into the country as it abides by the European Union border shutdown announced earlier this week to curtail the spread of the deadly virus.

Turkey has been using soft power and funding media organizations to use the weapon of misinformation and condemn Greece for shutting its doors on the migrants. Ankara has been building pressure on Brussels to reverse its ‘close border’ policy and gain money out of a new deal. Ironically, Human Rights Watch, which once criticized Turkish authorities for starting the Syrian war, seemed to be more concerned about Greece’s border shutdown policy rather than the displacement of refugees and their mistreatment in Turkey. What HRW has blatantly overlooked is Greece’s right to close its borders in the wake of the current pandemic.

In a tweet on March 13. Apostolos Doxiadis, a Greek writer, wrote, “It’s a shame that HRW promotes the propaganda from a country that weaponizes the refugees without solid evidence…HRW has to choose which path of history will follow. With controversial donations or with fundamental human rights.”

Doxiadis also explained how besides HRW, Turkey also used The New York Times as a propaganda tool. A similar report was also carried out by the Greek Times, which showed how once a prestigious news organization, NYT, has today reduced to a fake news publishing factory.

In the NYT article, titled ‘We Are Like Animals’: Inside Greece’s Secret Site for Migrants,’ the news house accused Greece of running inhumane refugee camps equivalent to Nazi concentration camps. The NYT quoted illegal migrants who said they were captivated, stripped and beaten by Greek security forces and later put in a complex of buildings near the border.

“There is no secret detention center in Greece,” government spokesman Stelios Petsas told reporters, adding that if an international newspaper was aware of the site, it wasn’t secret. “All issues related to guarding the borders or issues of security are transparent. The constitution is being applied… and there is nothing secret.”

Interestingly, some of the information put out by NYT in that article was ‘sourced’ from a 23-year-old illegal migrant Somar al-Hussein, who entered Greece and managed to record his “secret” geographic location without a phone.

As per the social media search, the “Syrian refugee student software engineer, Somar al-Hussein,” is none other than Somar ElHüseyin, an Istanbul resident & a Software Engineering student at Maltepe University.

Somar ElHüseyin is a propaganda boy of Turkey who is used by the state as a case of the perfect immigrant. He blatantly supports Turkish incursion into Syria and in his recent public comments said, “Let’s burn all Syria!”.

The Hellenic American leadership Council (HALC) wrote a letter to the editor of The New York Times to report fairly and truthfully.
“Unfortunately, this “investigative” piece fails to give the full context of the crisis at Greece’s border; it does not detail Turkey’s motivation for precipitating this crisis – namely to blackmail the EU into supporting Turkey’s military operations in Syria; it disingenuously tries to paint a picture of Syrian refugees fleeing to the Greek border in fear of their safety or their lives without mentioning that the United Nations has reported no refugee movement from Idlib to Turkey as a result of the last bout of fighting, and fails to challenge Turkish propaganda and talking points,” the statement from HALC states.

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