In preparation for an illegal attack this summer on men, women and children seeking safe places to live, learn and work, the Greek government has been sharing a narrative: their arrival will be illegal, and will have been forced by Turkey.
Neither statement is true.
It will not be illegal, and it will not have been forced by Turkey.
Nor would either justify the Greek government’s planned response – to unleash its military against vulnerable men, women and children.
Part Three: Greek Defence ‘Ministry Officials’
Defence Ministry ‘sources’ on Monday continued the Greek government’s operation to blame Turkey for any increase in new arrivals to Greece this summer.
‘Ministry Officials’ who have not been named by Greek media, told reporters at the Greek parliament that the Ministry had ordered the Greek military to be on ‘full alert’ for ‘hybrid-type threats’ in the Eastern Aegean and at the Evros border.
When asked to clarify, the sources said the ‘hybrid-type threats’, designed to ‘destabilise Greece’ would be ‘the same as’ the 20,000 men, women and children the Greek government entirely incorrectly claims were ‘sent’ by the Turkish government to the Evros border in February 2020.
Greek Prime Minister Kiriakos Mitsotakis then raised Turkish ‘destabilisation’ of the Eastern Mediterranean at the EU leaders’ summit on Tuesday 31 May-Wednesday 1 June 2022.
The Greek government responded to the February 2020 incident – in which in fact the Turkish government simply for the first time since March 2017 abided by international law and did not detain people in Turkey – by sending its armed forces to attack the men women and children at its borders, and used the incident to embark on a round of pushbacks which has not yet ended, and in which tens of thousands of people have been beaten, robbed and illegally pushed back to Turkey. Several have been killed.
In the wake of the effective collapse of Frontex, in part caused by the Greek government’s barbaric behaviour in the last 27 months, it is increasingly clear that the government is now ‘clearing the way’ for an extreme response to vulnerable people arriving at its borders, almost certainly involving the Greek armed forces.
This must be avoided under all circumstances.
We note once again: there will be an increased number of people arriving in Greece this summer than in the previous two years, because the restrictions imposed (and in Greece’s case abused) during the global pandemic, no longer apply.
The Turkish government may or may not choose to reopen its borders to allow people to leave. If it does, it will simply be abiding by international law rather than, as it has for the last five-and-a-quarter-years, breaking it at the demand of the EU.
This must not be – and will be, by the Greek government – passed off as ‘Turkey sending refugees [the government will say ‘migrants’] to Greece’.
Those people will arrive because that is what they want to do.
More importantly, it must not be – as it shamefully was in February 2020 – accepted as an excuse for yet more brutality towards vulnerable men, women and children at Greece’s borders with Turkey.
It is people’s right to travel, and to seek safe places to live, learn, and work. It is no country’s right to use its armed forces and their weaponry to stop them.