War, it can be properly said, is not always won on the battlefield. Many of the great contests between nations are won and lost on the field of public opinion.
And it seems that Greece, domestically, is winning on the P.R. front of the undeclared war Turkey is waging with weaponized migrants and refugees. But if Greece does not take all the necessary measures within its means quickly – which are not negligible if it mobilizes them – it risks losing the battle of public opinion outside of the country.
And I’m very frightened that things are not going so well at this stage.
For example: on March 2, The New York Times devoted half a page to this issue. Read the headline: Child Dies at Sea as Greece Cracks Down on Migrants From Turkey.
Although they clarify after…seven paragraphs, that “There was no indication that the Greek authorities were at fault in the child’s drowning on Monday,” nevertheless, the bad impression remains.
“The Greek authorities used tear gas, batons, stun grenades and rubber bullets to repel the migrants.”
What picture does that paint for you?
In addition, the newspaper considers it illegal under European law to block the entry of migrants and delay asylum applications for one month. The article notes that “International protocols on the protection of refugees, of which Greece is a signatory, also ban such policies, although there can be exceptions under extreme conditions.”
And The Times writes that, “The United Nations refugee agency said in a statement on Monday that, ‘All states have a right to control their borders and manage irregular movements, but at the same time should refrain from the use of excessive or disproportionate force and maintain systems for handling asylum requests in an orderly manner.’”
Finally, the newspaper gives disproportionate coverage to the statements of Erdogan and Mitsotakis, giving prominence to the former.
Yes, The Times does not have the facts quite right, and the impression the article will have on the uninformed reader will not be favorable to Greece.
As for the UN, someone must point out to them that the crime against humanity in this case is being committed by the party that has weaponized despair and suffering, not the country that is trying to stop chaos and pain.