Amid the migrant crisis … the conflict between Turkey and Greece moves to social media


ATHENS / ANKARA (Reuters) – Greeks and Turks are waging a proxy war on social media with photos, clips and comments designed to show that the other side is behaving poorly in a migrant crisis that has severely deteriorated the already strained relations between Athens and Ankara.

Migrants from the Middle East, Afghanistan, Pakistan and other regions, estimated to number 35,000, are trying to enter Greece, a member of the European Union since Ankara said on February 28 that it would not keep migrants on its territory anymore as required of it under a 2016 agreement with the European Union In exchange for aid.

Greece used tear gas and water cannons to repel them.

(Greece under attack) and (Greece defending Europe) became popularly used on Greek accounts on Twitter. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşo أوlu used the poison (Greece attacking refugees).

A video circulated on Monday showed a tractor apparently spraying liquid towards the border fence, to flood the hundreds of migrants gathered on the Turkish side.

Some Greek social media users speculated that he was a farmer who sprayed pig urine at the border. Turkish social media users said the clip showed that the police and farmers were using chemical weapons and had established an electronic link to the United Nations.

This heated debate on the Internet is based on a long history of conflict between Turkey and Greece, which are still at odds over issues such as Cypriots and gas exploration in the eastern Mediterranean alongside migrants.

Turkey, which hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees, says the European Union has not kept its promises to help. Brussels and Athens accuse Ankara of urging migrants to break into the borders in an attempt to “blackmail” Europe to give more money and to support its geopolitical goals in the Syrian conflict.

Pictures showed that Reuters could not verify the authenticity of migrants who were forced to undress except for their underwear after being arrested on the Greek side of the border and then sent back. Other photos show Turkish forces reportedly trying to dismantle parts of the border fence to make it easier for migrants to cross.

Turkey says Greek forces fire live bullets, killing four migrants last week, which Athens denies.

One of the Turkish commentators pointed out that Greece is “full of Coronavirus, unlike Turkey” and recommends “never visit Greece”, although Erdogan encourages migrants to go there.

Greece has recorded 73 confirmed cases of the virus but without deaths, which is relatively few for Europe. Turkey has not confirmed any cases so far.

Doaa Mohamed’s preparation for the Arab newsletter – edited by Lilian Wagdy


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