New York.- (GreekNewsOnline)
The “New York Times” published an article titled We Are Like Animals’: Inside Greece’s Secret Site for Migrants, wrongly claiming that Greece is operating a “blacksite” on its border with Turkey, as Turkey’s President Erdogan continues to weaponize migrants in a deliberate effort to destabilize Greece and blackmail the EU.
HALC’s executive director Endy Zemenides asked Greek American to launch an email campaign demanding the “New York Times” to set the record straight. In a letter he says that 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.
“I await The New York Times’ in-depth, forensic analysis of how Turkey is funneling thousands of migrants (not from Syria) to a border it knows is closed in order to continue to sow chaos. Send a letter to the editor to The New York Times and urge them to report on this issue in a balanced and fair way”, Zemenides said.
Patrick Kingsley, one of the article’s authors, finally acknowledged on March 13 that a source they name as a Syrian refugee has indeed dual Syrian and Turkish citizenship.
Kingsley’s message says: “Our story sparked a firestorm in Greece, much of it ignoring our reporting of Turkish violations. But one claim was fair: We didn’t mention a source’s dual nationality. We’ve now added it. This was my fault. I did the interview, & I didn’t clarify this”.
WHO WAS THE SOURCE
Writer Apostolos Doxiadis in an extensive letter to the “NYT” exposed the identity of the newspaper’s source.
“Apart from their simple-minded acceptance of Turkish official sources as truthful, the main thrust of the journalists’ opus is based on one (!) source, a certain gentleman presented as a “Syrian-Kurd” whose name is spelled in the article, as Somar al-Hussein, presumbably to make it sound as the real thing. But the case is a bit more complicated. What has escaped the attention of the good journalists is that Mr. Somar Elhüseyin, as he himself writes his name, in accordance with Turkish spelling, is in fact a golden boy of the Turkish state. And that though he is a of Syrian-Kurdish origin, he is a Turkish citizen, who is paraded in the past few years in Turkey as a case of the perfect immigrant, showing off the wonders that assimilation to Turkish society can do. Of course, to be a golden boy of the Turkish state, today, means to be a golden boy of the Turkish propaganda machine of a ruthless dictator.
It’s worth to give a closer look at this young gentleman, the same who was presented in the New York Times article as a poor, long-suffering refugee, trying to make a better life in Europe, having escaped the very real horrors of the Syrian war.
In 2017, Mr. Elhüseyin was accepted to Karamanoglu Mehmetbey University, in the city of Karaman, in southern Turkey, to study energy engineering, as an international exchange student. His name had already been Turkified, at the time he took his entrance exams. And it became obvious very soon that after that he had been singled out, as a special case, a man who could work for and with the state and showcase its purported triumphs. In fact, as soon as he passed his exams, the fanatically pro-Erdoganist newspaper Hürriyet chose Mr. Elhüseyin (yes, the man whose name the New York Times orientalise as Al-Hussein) to give an interview, on September 14, 2017, on the benefits of the Turkish educational system for foreign students. Fact: you are not promoted by Hürriyet if you are not a friend of Erdogan’s state, as you were not promoted by Pravda if you were not a friend of the Communist state—and there is no exaggeration here.
Soon after his entrance exams, Mr. Elhüseyin was preferentially transferred to the much more prestigious Maltepe University, in Istanbul. From then on, he started to appear as a state-sponsored student organizer, and also a regular speaker to events for refugees, passing to them the official government line on Turkey as a haven of freedom. Soon after, he was rewarded for his loyalty with Turkish citizenship—and anyone who knows anything at all about refugees, understands that to do achieve citizen status in less than three yeas, in any country is an extraordinary feat, showing strong state interest in your advancement.
Since then, Mr. Elhüseyin has continued his work as propagandist and organiser for the Turkish state. He is of course an outspoken enemy of the Syrian regime—and I have no quarrel with that—and a fanatic supporter of Turkey’s war effort, which I do not side with. And I especially don’t side with Mr. Elhüseyin’ s blood-thirstiness (“Let’s burn all Syria!” was one of his recent public comments, while jubilating for the downing of a Syrian helicopter—and Syria is his country, according to the New York Times.) But more recently, when Erdogan decided to storm the Greek, and thus the European, borders, staging an incursion with tens of thousands of non-Turkish nationals, some of them released from jails, some of them awarded a bonus of 800 Euros, all attempting to violently push their way into the country, supported by Turkish army transport and Army units, Mr. Elhüseyin was among the first to join the movement. Mind you, this was a violent, massive attempt to cross the Greek borders, with the crowds on the Turkish side, uncontrolled by police or army, throwing stones, fire-bombs and tear gas at the Greek border guards.
Mr. Elhüseyin was instrumental in organizing the campaign, effectively acting as an incursive tour-organiser, posting calls to all and sundry to join the attempt to enter Greece, most definitely under government sanction and support. Should anyone dout this, it is enough to see his Facebook page, still active and still carrying this information until this morning. On it, he advertised—I presume Facebook is accessible to American journalists, yes?—the high-tech buses that would be transferring immigrants, whether rightful claimants to refugee status or not, into Greece”.
Congressman Gis Bilirakis, in a letter to the Editor of New York Times said:
Your reporting on the crisis at Greek-Turkish border misinforms the American public at the exact time that our government is considering how to diffuse this crisis.
The conscious decision to not report on Turkey organizing what the State Department has criticized as the “fundamentally destabilizing” and “unsustainable” movement of thousands of people toward the borders of the EU is inexplicable. This error is compounded by the lack of discussion of Turkey’s geopolitical motives, and that those that have been arrested are not Syrian asylum seekers but migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iraq, Somalia and Turkey itself.
I must also note that your official sources for this article are Turkish officials, and your “facts” do not match those we have ascertained through briefings Congress is receiving from the US Embassy in Athens or the statements of the Greek government. The New York Times should not let its pages be used as a distribution center for Turkish government talking points.
Member of Congress”
Supreme President George G. Horiates issued the following response to an article published by The New York Times on March 10, 2020. The article in question dealt with the way that Greece is dealing with the current migrant crisis on their borders and condemns Greece for actions they’ve taken, and in his letter, Supreme President Horiates pointed out the errors in their statements and defended the government of Greece and the actions they’re taking.
The reporting of Greek-Turkish border incidents lacked truthfulness much less balance. (‘We Are Like Animals’: Inside Greece’s Secret Site for Migrants, Mar. 10).
With the longest border in Europe, Greece bears the brunt whenever Turkey chooses to “open the gates” as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has described it. However, it is unacceptable for Turkey, whenever it is in a bind of its own doing, repeatedly to use refugees as political pawns to leverage support from Europe and NATO. This recent migrant flow surge is due to Turkey’s misguided policy in Syria, as well as the West’s acquiescence to its actions.
The facts are this:
Since Friday, February 29, Greece has been subject to a sudden, massive, organized and coordinated pressure from population movements at its eastern, land and sea borders.
Thousands have attempted to forcefully cross into Greece by land and sea. There have been no documented cases of refugees coming from Idlib, Syria. To the contrary, virtually all arrestees are other but Syrian nationality (Afghanis, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis, Iraqis, Somalis). Most of them speak Turkish, a fact indicating they have been living in Turkey for some time.
This is an organized and coordinated operation that is encouraged and directed by the government and the authorities of Turkey through various means, including the use of disinformation campaigns from official sources and state media, the chartering of buses with covered license plates and the escorting of boats laden with irregular migrants by Turkish coastguard vessels.
It is clearly evident these actions have been perpetrated by Turkey in order to exert diplomatic pressure and achieve political gains, both domestically and internationally. Repeated statements by the Turkish leadership, including President Erdogan himself, have been threatening Europe with the “opening of floodgates”, thus allowing this situation to develop and creating real and severe security risks for a neighbor and NATO ally, as well as the EU itself
Turkish border Police and Coastal Guard have ceased to respond to calls from Greek and FRONTEX counterparts, in a break of a modus operandi, indicative of Turkey’s intentions.
Due to its coordinated and massive nature, this relocation of people has nothing to do with international law regarding the right of asylum, which concerns only individual cases. These actions are happening in breach of Turkey’s obligations under the 2016 EU-Turkey Joint Statement.
Greece unequivocally exercises its sovereign right and constitutional obligation to protect its territorial integrity. This present ploy is a threat to not only the security of Greece but of all of Europe, not to mention its public health.
Thus, the action was taken to not accept any new asylum application for 1 month and to request the deployment of Rapid Border Intervention teams (RABITSs) by FRONTEX, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency. Raising the level of deterrence at the borders of Turkey to the maximum was unavoidable.
Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, visited on March 3, the GRE-TUR land border along with EU Com.Pres.Ursula von der Leyen, EU Council Pres.Charles Michel, EU Parl. Pres Davide Sassoli and Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic in an important message of support to Greece’s attempts to safeguard European borders.
Mr. Yaarub’s death is tragic. The reporting of it is one-sided and based upon speculation and questionable sources of video footage. It fails to report the root cause of the circumstances created that led to his death, which is Mr. Erdogan’s failed policies. The United States’ solidarity with Greece is also omitted. A senior State Department official stated on March 7 the migrants have been, “…misled into believing that the road to Europe is open…”
Mr. Erdogan “opened the gates” for Mr. Yaarub and misled him to his death. Mr. Yaarub’s blood is on Mr. Erdogan’s hands.
George G. Horiates, Esq.