The Fake News “Made in Turkey”
By Leonidas Koumakis*
As is well known, one of the most powerful “weapons” of a hybrid or an actual war, is the untrue news that is properly channeled by a state’s propaganda techniques in order to shape and/or influence the public opinion in the direction of its objectives.
Turkey widely uses fake news on many different levels (political, diplomatic, military, cultural, economic, etc.) in order to accomplish its diverse goals.
This “weapon” has been used against Greece and Cyprus relentlessly over the years and in the present, with gross distortion of the truth, faithfully following the principal of Paul Joseph Goebbel who was Nazi Germany’s Propaganda Minister from 1933 to 1945: “The bigger the lie and the more it is repeated, the more believable it becomes.”
Turkey has been using this tactic for decades with unilateral actions or decisions that ignore the internationally guaranteed sovereign rights of its neighbors. It was dangerously escalated after the sudden hybrid war that Turkey declared against Greece in February of 2020 at the Evros’ border. Right after that it targeted islands in the Aegean using a cynical “weapon”: an entire ‘army’ of suffering people, including jihadists, the vast majority of them being from Asia and Africa pretending to be refugees from Syria.
Since then and for two whole years (2020-2022) Turkey used, almost on a daily basis, fake news coming from government officials: R.T. Erdogan, Ibrahim Kalın , Hulusi Akar, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Devlet Bahceli, Ömer Çelik, Süleyman Soylu and many others.
A classic example is the post on Twitter made by Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu on March 3, 2020: “9:15 am. It is time for 130,469 migrants to leave Turkey for Greece through Edirne”. (Edirne is the Turkish name given to Andrianoupolis in 1930, a Greek city that belongs to Turkey since 1922).
The war in Ukraine and the urgent visit of the Greek Prime Minister to Istanbul (March 13, 2022), had the temporary effect of “suspending” or weakening the Turkish daily practice of fake news.
However, after a short time, Turkey gradually began to return to the known rhythms of unilateral actions and fake news:
On March 17, 2022, only four days after the meeting of the Greek Prime Minister with the Turkish President, the Minister of National Defence of Turkey met with the Greek Minister of National Defence in Brussels in the framework of the NATO Defence Ministers’ Meeting. The Turkish Foreign Minister Hulusi Akar did not miss the opportunity to indulge in the favorite habit of the Turks, saying among others the following: “The meeting was positive… it’s important for the well-being of the peoples of the two countries, to be sharing the beauties and wealth of the Aegean. There is tourism and fishing, and other sources of wealth. We are for the common exploitation of all as we have already stated…”. The response by the Greek Minister of National Defence was swift: “No such issue, as the ‘co-exploitation of the Aegean’ was raised, and it certainly could not have been raised”.
On March 21, 2022, in order to sway the public opinion in Turkey and abroad, and give the impression that Turkey is the key player in resolving the war in Ukraine, the Presidential Spokesman İbrahim Kalın declared: “Turkey is ready to accommodate a Putin – Zelensky meeting”, and then the Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu declared: “The two sides are close to agreement “.
On March 23, 2022, the Turkish Foreign Minister took the opportunity at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation‘s (OIC) meeting of Foreign Ministers held in Pakistan (Islamabad), to broadcast gross lies, aka fake news, with no shame whatsoever: “Muslim Turks, who have been in Western Thrace for seven centuries and in Cyprus for five, are deprived of their basic rights in the 21st century “.
On March 30, 2022, the Turkish Foreign Minister posted on social media the following: “I remind Greece that respect for the elected Muftis, is a condition in the Treaty of Lausanne.” Well, no such term exists in the Treaty of Lausanne and the Greek Foreign Minister rushed to restore the truth: “The Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs is always willing to send the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs the text of the Treaty of Lausanne, strongly urging it to show Greece the article where it is stated that the Muftis of the Muslim Minority are… ‘elected’. As is well known, there is no such a provision in the Treaty of Lausanne.”
On April 1, 2022, Süleyman Soylu, the Turkish Minister of Interior, also known as the political leader of the Turkish underworld, outraged by the impossibility of uninterrupted “transferring” of Muslim populations from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Africa to Greece, he once again made unbelievable false statements, as is the traditional Turkish custom: “The West is silent when immigrants freeze to death after the ‘pushbacks’. This is covered by Frontex, an organization set up by the EU that looks like a terrorist organization. They have no mercy. Don’t assume they have compassion or even a speck of humanity.” And only a few months earlier, he had declared: ” The Frontex organization must be abolished, it is a black institution of our century “, and naturally not leaving out Greece by saying: The ‘pushbacks’, especially by Greece, are a crime against humanity.”
On April 4, 2022, the Turkish Ministry of National Defence officially announced that “Greece has violated the demilitarized status of the islands 423 times”. Shortly afterwards, the baton was given to İsmail Hakkı Pekin, the retired head of the Turkish Armed Forces Intelligence Service, who declared: “These islands are a threat to Turkey because they have armed them and we don’t see the other side of the islands, meaning their west side. If you don’t have sophisticated satellites, you don’t know the kind of their military preparedness and the number of their military forces”.
On April 5, 2022, it became known that Turkey is advertising a new rocket with the commercial name “Çakır”. In the promotional video for the new rocket, its target is a Greek island in the Aegean!
On April 6, 2022, Abdullah Ağar, the special security analyst of CNN TURK, proposed a military operation against Greece similar to the one against Syria that took place against the will of the USA, with the excuse … the arming of the Greek islands” threatens Turkey”.
On April 7, 2022, the Turkish Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ, accused the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe that although “the European Court of Human Rights had issued judgments that Muslims’ (calling them ‘Turks’) rights were being violated in Western Thrace, the Committee of Ministers did not even check the matter, even years later, despite the proper notifications sent to the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe”. The fact though, that Turkey itself has thrown hundreds of judgements issued against it by the European Court, into the garbage can, refusing to implement them, does not seem to matter at all to the Turkish minister.
On April 8, 2022, Turkey issued a completely illegal NAVTEX “blocking” areas located in the heart of the Aegean and in areas clearly under Greek jurisdiction, “for the provision of search and rescue” during the period 6,7,12,13 May 2022. The internationally established practice that “the area of responsibility of each state coincides with the corresponding FIR (in this case the Athens FIR)”, is systematically ignored by Turkey and refuses to sign an agreement with Greece “for cooperation in matters of maritime search and rescue”, so that Turkey can arbitrarily “draw maps” as its own “areas of responsibility”.
CONCLUSIONS: Greece and Cyprus don’t have not even a slightest moment of complacency in the face of the ever-renewing expansionism and revisionism of present-day Turkey.
With the official inflation being over 60% (in March 2022 the official inflation in Turkey reached a staggering 61.1%), with growing dissatisfaction toward the Erdogan – Bahceli alliance and the Turkish mafia (according to Özgür Özel, vice-president of a parliamentary group of the official opposition), the “way outs” that remain until the next Turkish “elections” are becoming more and more limited, with two options to be appearing as the most possible developments:
Either a military operation against Greece or Cyprus (exiled Turkish professors and analysts consider this scenario possible), or an internal operation just before the elections to terrorize the population with “terrorist attacks” leaving many dead – a similar, successful precedent already exists. The objective, of course, remains the same: to rally around the palace.
The increase in the intensity of the repeated Turkish fake news must be taken for granted, just as Goebbels said: “The bigger the lie and the more it is repeated, the more believable it becomes.”
(*)Leonidas Koumakis was born in Constantinople (Istanbul, Turkey). He had to leave Constantinople when his father was deported from Turkey in 1964. In Greece, he graduated from Athens University Law School. Since 1967, he had been working for a major wine producer for an uninterrupted period of 30 years, as International Sales Director and Deputy General Manager. During the decade 2003–2013 he dealt with printed and electronic publications. He has published hundreds of articles and analyses on Turkey, on Scopia of Former Yugoslavia, on the Greek and international food and beverage market, as well as on various other issues. He is the author of the following books: “The Miracle – A True Story” (first edition, in Greek & in English, 1993- last edition 2020 on Amazon and IHA library for free), “Farewell” (in Greek, 1996), “Glances at the Roots of Hellenism” (in Greek, 1997), “Turkey in Flames” (in Greek, 2017 on Amazon).
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