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Turkey, the wailing witch over-frozen migrants

While it is a common practice among Greek border troops to push migrants back, what reason would they have had, this time round in winter, to strip them of their protective clothing and shoes?

Ignore the dateline. Whether it is Ipsala on the Turkey-Greece border, Ankara the government seat or Edirne, close to Turkey borders with Greece and Bulgaria also recorded in history as Adrianople, the hard news is that Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu posting on his Twitter account that twelve of 24 migrants “pushed back” by Greek border forces and stripped of their clothes and shoes “froze to death” in northwestern Turkey.  

Sharing several blurred pictures of victims from the site, Soylu quickly crosses Cabinet borders into the jurisdiction of the Turkish Foreign Ministry docket charging that the European Union (EU) “is remediless, weak and void of humane feelings.” He goes on to condemn Greek forces for acting as a “thug” against people who had been made “victims,” lamenting at the same time that they were tolerant towards members of the Gulen Movement, which Ankara classifies as “terrorist”.                        

 An earlier statement from the Edirne Province Governor said   “the bodies of the migrants were found in the Pasakoy village of Ipsala District, less than 10 kilometers from the Greek border… Another migrant at risk of frostbite was rescued and transferred to the Kesan State Hospital.” Meanwhile, it added, Turkish teams continued to conduct search and rescue missions in the area for migrants who might need medical assistance and that an investigation had been launched into the incident.

Reacting to the Soylu tweet, Greek Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarachi issued a statement calling “…deaths of 12 migrants on the Turkish border near Ipsala a tragedy.”  However, he added: “Any suggestion that they were pushed back into Turkey is patently false.”

What could be read between the lines of what Soylu and Mitarachi had to put forward to the world about the incident? What could be the real story?

In the first place, Soylu calling the European Union “… remediless, weak and void of humane feelings” is understandable. Turkey, through its continued disregard to international law and abuse of human rights, the country’s decades-old negotiations to join the EU have virtually been grounded to a halt.  Turkey’s membership in the EU has virtually become a dead issue. It is a story of sour grapes.

Secondly, if the EU, in the eyes of Soylu, is “devoid of humane feelings”, what could be said about that of the state of Turkey which goes beyond any description? This is where we say in Africa that “the monkey, indeed, does not recognize (defects of) its rear.”  

Within the echo of Soylu’s statement, the head of the Turkish Parliament’s Human Rights Committee says: “Greece will one day be condemned before the international law and … convicted in conscience of humanity” for mistreating migrants.” He repeats the story of the monkey. What positive aspect of human rights respect can be said about Turkey of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)?

Duty bound United Nations (UN) called for “urgent” investigation into Greek “pushback” of migrants. UN Refugee Agency spokesperson Shabia Mantoo said of the UNHCR being “deeply saddened” after 19 migrants froze to death.  After this, one realizes the Ankara failure to update the world on the incident about which it said it had launched an investigation. Now we know the migrants’ death toll is no longer 12.  The International Organization for Migration (IOM) says mounting reports of border pushbacks are “extremely concerning” expressing the migrants’ deaths as “horrifying” to the UN.

Now it’s time to catch the criminal. The deaths occur on the Turkey-Greece border. In the words of the Edirne Province Governor, “the bodies of the migrants were found in the Pasakoy village of Ipsala District, less than 10 kilometers from the Greek border…” This means inside Turkey.

While it is a common practice among Greek border troops to push migrants back, what reason would they have had, this time round in winter, to strip them of their protective clothing and shoes?  For what gains would they have wanted that to be their modus operandi?  So, could the Suleyman Soylu narrative shed some light on the Mitarachi argument of any suggestion that the migrants were pushed back into Turkey being “patently false?”

The world knows all about the falsehoods surrounding the famous planned to fail July 15, 2016 coup – the coup-that-was and which has since turned life upside down for all people deemed to hold a different opinion to the present day.  If the argument of Mitarachi is carefully scrutinized, the migrants’ pushback could have taken place; but the stripping and shoeless component remains that of the Turkish government’s making to escape the blame of the migrants’ frostbites and eventual deaths by freezing.  

Could this constitute the ‘false patent side? Such a version is something very simple for Turkey to cook and make it sound real. A good Gulen movement supporter is literally a dead one. Between the Turkish and Greek border troops, who are more likely to give migrants the narrated fatal treatment?

 According to a statement from the Turkish Interior Minister, Suleyman Soylu, a total of 319,587 people have been detained while 99,962 others have been jailed due to alleged links to the Gülen movement since the failed coup.

During the last year the Erdoğan government has continued to relentlessly pursue anyone with alleged links with the Gulen movement. Members of the outlawed PKK party, which has also been designated as “terrorist”, have been targets of hate speech; hate crimes, unlawful prosecution together with torture and abductions, among other serious human rights violations. Available figures put the number of arrested “terrorists” fleeing to Greece in 2021 at 169.

Turkey has repeatedly condemned Greece for what it calls the illegal practice of pushing back asylum seekers, saying it violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable people, including women and children. But indigenous African knowledge has an explanation of what is taking place in Turkey concerning the unexplained disappearance and death of citizens. 

In the event of such incidents happening, observes the African indigenous knowledge, it is the witch who wails the most because that is the very person who knows the real circumstances surrounding the deaths and would like to avoid any clue linking him or her with the big grief afflicted on the bereaved relatives. The Turkey government leaders are shedding crocodile tears on the problems negatively impacting their citizens.

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FELIX KAIZA
FELIX KAIZA
Felix Kaiza is a Tanzanian journalist with more than 50 years of experience currently working as an independent media consultant. Learned in agriculture, journalism, political science and international relations, his main fields of consultancy, besides the media, are good governance, nature conservation, tourism and investment. He was the first Tanzanian Chief Sub-Editor of an English daily newspaper in 1970, he has been behind the establishment and growth of the national independent media since the early 1990s. He is UNFAO Fellow Journalist since 1975 and has wide experience on regional integration. He worked on the Information Directorate of the original East African Community on whose ashes survive the current one. His ambition is to brand Tanzania in the inbound market with made-in-Tanzania brands, including information, almost all of which is currently foreign brewed.
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