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20 minutes – escorted by Ankara, shelled by Athens

The refugee crisis has intensified since the border was opened by Turkey. Since then, Turkey and Greece have accused each other of gross misconduct. The most recent example: Turkey reports that shots by Greek border officials killed one migrant and injured five others. The Greek government immediately denied this and is talking about fake news.

Furthermore, Greek and Turkish authorities repeatedly refer to videos these days that are intended to prove the wrongdoing of the other. So released the Greek coast guard on Monday a video showing a Turkish Coast Guard boathow an inflatable boat full of refugees and migrants escorts them into Greek waters, that is to say provides targeted escape aid. The incident occurred in the eastern Aegean, the coast guard said. When or where exactly the picture was taken remains open.

However, a video that the Turkish government circulated showshow a Greek Coast Guard boat nearly rams a refugee boat. Later, shots hit the water just next to the boat. Again, it is unclear when and where exactly the video was recorded. Neither the Greek nor the Turkish authorities commented on the respective videos.

How much is truth, how much propaganda?

How much truth is there in such videos – and how much is primarily aimed at propaganda and heating up the mood? “At least in Turkey there is definitely anti-Greek propaganda,” says Kristian Brakel of the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Istanbul. “Ankara is interested in making the Greek side look as bad as possible.”

That is also easy at the moment. For example, he spoke to various local people who had witnessed the actions of the Greek border guards: “They shoot tear gas and plastic bullets into the crowd, including women and small children. There are also reports of refugees and migrants who somehow made it to Greece and who were beaten and robbed there before being brought back to Turkey. So it doesn’t take much to make Greece look bad – and even if everything isn’t 100 percent verifiable, it is very likely. »

«Obviously that happens and is controlled»

At the same time, however, the Greek accusation that Turkey encourages refugees to migrate to Greece is not out of thin air and even escorts them in the process. «Since Friday, the tenor in Turkey has been: The border is open, the opportunity grabs. And there are also various types of bus transport to the border. It is very obvious that this happens and is controlled, »says Brakel.

Olga Drossu from the Heinrich Böll Foundation in Thessaloniki fully agrees with her colleague Brakel. «Turkey is directing the flow of refugees out of its country. She announced and prepared that a long time ago. The goal is to destabilize Greece and blackmail Europe. »

Exaggerations and open explanations

She doubts that the Greeks are using the refugees and migrants for propaganda purposes. “There is too much evidence that Turkey controls the flow of refugees,” she says. «Refugees say that they were pushed into the Evros border river by Turkish security forces. That may be an exaggeration. It is not that state buses are made available to refugees free of charge to bring them to the border. »

The Mayor of the city of Bolu makes no secret of this: he will provide all refugees who wish to have a place on the bus to take them to the Greek border, 500 kilometers away. “We are ready to arrange transportation,” he said according to Tagesschau.de,

“It’s about instrumentalizing these people”

“Of course, it’s about creating a picture of a crisis,” says Turkey expert and Islamic scholar Brakel. “This is how Erdogan comes up with quite abstruse numbers. First he said that hundreds of thousands were on their way to Europe, yesterday it was said that there would be a million refugees. It’s about instrumentalizing these people. »

Greece also likes to work with exaggerations in this situation. At least the “invasion” of refugees and migrants, which Greek government officials have been talking about since the Turkish border opened, has so far not materialized.

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