“Refugees as followers,” and even “slaves” of the Greek border guards? With this scathing affirmation, the Mirror Framing his latest foreign reporting from Greece, giving it the character it needs to make itself heard in the well-meaning circles of German domestic politics. The team of journalists based in the Netherlands Al Manara Reports Addresses the same thing with this sentence: “We were slaves.” annoying guardians This statement comes from two migrants who were allegedly summoned by verbal agreements to provide assistance in the border area.
The story is yet another work in the never-ending search for finally conclusive evidence of forced returns, refusals, or forced returns of Greece at the Evros border with Turkey. The latest research has also been conducted by an international research association. Daily newspapers such as The Guardian and Le Monde as well as ARD Munich Report. In addition, the “journalists collaborating” from beacon report On board, which stands out above all by its reconstructions, 3D models and the like.
In a French daily newspaper, Le Monde The video posted shows migrants actually stranded on an island in Evros. It is, so to speak, the Adrianople Forest, today’s Turkish border city of Edirne, and is a small part of it. Children are sick, have a fever, or are dehydrated. However, travelers do not seem to be considering returning to the safe transit country Turkey. The Greek police and soldiers who eventually took them to the detention center are accompanied by some “fluent Arabic” assistants. The statement added that these helpers beat all the migrants before eventually returning the migrants to the Turkish side of the river.
Practice started no later than 2019
According to Le Monde, there have been at least 163 forced returns in the Evros region in the past three years (since May 2019). Thus, this practice would precede the Evros crisis in March 2020 and until the inauguration of the conservative government headed by Kyriakos Mitsotakis in July 2019. Thus, 11,500 people were “removed” or deported to Turkey. One aide, Syrian immigrant Saber, says 80 to 90 people a day are sent back to Turkey in the winter.
The fact that these people have the right to apply for asylum in Greece is a matter of dispute between Athens and others (governments and observers alike). The Greek government takes the position that Turkey is a safe country of origin for the majority of illegal immigrants (mostly from Muslim countries).
Researchers primarily interviewed six border guards migrants. According to their reports, the Greek border guards made an offer to some illegal immigrants: either you work for us and help us return illegal immigrants from Turkey, or you will be sentenced to years in prison. If they accepted the offer, the alleged smugglers obtained a Greek residence permit for 30 days. An aide claims that he was released from “service” after three months after which he managed to escape via the Balkan route. According to these reports, the Greek border police have concluded their own “refugee agreement”, in which privileges are given to a small number of migrants in order to do the hard work at the border, which international observers view with suspicion. One can find all this obnoxious.
Was Mike still able to smuggle more?
Another Syrian, who everyone called “Mike”, is said to have been something like the leader of this mysterious group. He is said to have enriched himself greatly through his work. He sends the money he takes from immigrants through Athens to France, where he owns a house and a Mercedes. In the photos, he is dressed in a gray camouflage uniform, of course without a service insignia.
Another explosive accusation, Mike said, despite being an aide to the Greek border guards, continued to be free to get real smuggling services. In his new position, he was able to bring to Greece the “newcomers” who had paid for them in Istanbul. Border officials would have accepted that, and perhaps even supported it. Were these smuggling services a “service” by officials to their main assistant, or should migrants smuggled in this way also act as helpers in the fight against mass illegal immigration?
This is not clear from any of the reports. In any case, smuggling appears to be the tithes paid by the Greek government to ensure reasonably regulated conditions at the land border. The locals are shouting loudly Mirror From the fact that you no longer see any migrants in the border area near Tychero and Chimonio – only those who were deployed by the border guards. Therefore, this practice is an open secret in the region.
Athens: Protecting the border guards is a priority
Now one can question the entire investigation, which the Greek government would undoubtedly do – if it paid any attention to it at all. Are the guides provided weatherproof? You don’t always have that impression. on me LighthouseOn this page you will find a 3D model showing the quality of the researchers’ “evidence” and “reconstructions” of their theses: in a photo showing an assistant (his face blurred), you can see some of the windows with a blocked background said to resemble those at a Greek border point. This evidence does not appear to be court proof.
Above all, it is mentioned that the statements of the six assistants confirm each other. In addition, it is alleged that the multinational team of journalists could also rely on statements from members of the Greek police. The report stated that all orders relating to forcible return were issued “orally” only. However, the support of the political leadership is clear. Perhaps there is no knowledge of all the details there, but there is approval and support for the officials.
Greek sources also put the necessary protection for border officials at the fore. Referred to the events of the spring of 2020, that is, the Turkish “migration attack” on Evros, which was repelled by Greek police officers and soldiers for weeks. Turkish immigrants also used various means of street fighting (tear gas and smoke bombs). Time and time again, there is talk of live ammunition shots coming from the Turkish side and making the protection of the border in its current form more difficult.
Barbouk: Humanity is on our borders
In addition, it is clear that something else is at stake, an enemy sitting not on the other side of the river in Turkey, but in the European hinterland. The rulers are also concerned with protecting their officials from the allegations of the opposition, which come mainly from Berlin and Brussels. It is this insecurity, implanted from within, about the professed “rules of international law” – and their incompatibility with national law – that makes alternative solutions such as those advocated here by Spiegel and others necessary in the first place. It should be clear that this is not a panacea for border protection. But on a bewildering pass – not only in Evros, but also in the European Union – the temptation to side roads and detours grows.
Now things could get even more exciting on this EU home front. Shortly after the events of Melilla and the publication of international research by MirrorAnd the Le Monde And the guardians Foreign Minister Barbock also commented for the first time since she was in office on the accusations now being leveled against EU partners in the south everywhere in the German press. She wrote on Twitter that the “photos and reports” in those days were “horrible” and “unbearable”: “Our common values, our humanity and human rights also apply to our borders.” All this made her “deeply moved” – words, he spoke at the eternal Green Party conference. Barbock wants to fully clarify the allegations. But this does not mean that something will follow from all this.
However, criticism from the Greek Twitter wing was immediately linked to Barbock’s words. Several commentators have criticized “German pushbacks” at Greek airports, as Berlin tries to prevent migrants from entering Germany illegally. On the other hand, no clear word has been heard from Barbuk about the exploitation of illegal immigration through Turkey. Only words of joy and comfort remained when Erdogan softened again through expensive concessions, as was the case when Finland and Sweden joined NATO.
Council of the European Union: refusal is possible in the case of intermediary migration
In the meantime, the efforts of the “enlightened” are likely to be in vain for two reasons: First, the Greek government apparently decided not to talk about the issue of protecting national borders and sovereign rights. Secondly, this realization seems to be gaining more and more at the EU level, as the German association “Seebrücke” discovered with some disappointment. Some of the changes to the Schengen border law also raise questions about criticism of refusal, detention or border closures.
The points of agreement that have been presented, and approved by Interior Minister Weser, are not fundamentally new. For example, the “illusion of not entering” within a well-defined internal radius of the border and the associated right to “push back” immigrants who have entered the country illegally have been around for a long time. The guiding concept of “the exploitation of migration … by state or non-state actors” can be important, as this is usually what matters in case there are problems with illegal immigration, whether in Spain, Greece, Poland or in the middle of the Mediterranean average.