ATHENS – Once again, Greece’s ruling New Democracy has rejected a report – this one from the German magazine Der Spiegel – that a Pakistani national was shot down while trying to cross from Turkey into Greece in March.
The report said the alleged victim may have been shot by Greek soldiers during a tense time along the border after Greece had closed its side when Turkey sent 10,000 migrants there and urged them to get across somehow.
It was in the region of the Evros River, whose treacherous currents had taken the lives of a number of migrants over the past four years during what is now an essentially-suspended 2016 swap deal between Turkey and the European Union.
The report was originally published in March the magazine didn’t release an English version until May 8 with no explanation for the time gap or why it hadn’t been picked up on earlier by any media.
“No evidence was ever provided in early March proving that the actions of Greek security forces resulted in loss of life. In fact, these allegations were immediately denied by the Greek authorities,” government spokesman Stelios Petsas said.
He noted he had made a similar statement on March 4 and suggested the report rising now may be tied to a “disinformation campaigns” that Greece said has been launched by Turkey after the failed attempt to get migrants across the border.
The story has circulated among various media but no proof has been produced that anyone was shot or killed there.
The incident came as Turkey said it would no longer stop migrants from crossing into Europe, resulting in thousands gathering on the Turkish side before they were repelled by Greek riot police and Army units.