Tensions erupted between the Greek and Turkish Foreign Ministers during a meeting on Thursday, according to diplomatic sources who spoke to CNN Greece. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu reiterated some of the fake news that his country’s media and leaders have been spreading about Greece during the migration crisis that Turkey unleashed in March.
Ankara claimed that Greek border forces tortured and killed illegal immigrants, something that Turkey attempted to disseminate to international media to discredit Greece with little effect or success. Greek City Times has already debunked the Turkish fake news relating to the migration crisis. However, we must remind our readers that Turkey is one of the lowest ranked countries for media freedoms in the world, is the second most susceptible country surveyed on the European continent to fake news, has the most imprisoned journalists in the whole world, and 90% of media is government controlled.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias was not tolerating any of the allegations made by Çavuşoğlu and immediately took the floor during the online NATO conference to inform the alliance that Greece faced an orchestrated and unprecedented attack on its border and a disinformation campaign from Turkey. The methods used by Turkey violated the supposed values of NATO, adding that all so-called allies have the right to call for NATO's solidarity, but only if they honour their commitments.
The Turkish Foreign Minister became so enraged by Dendias’ comments that he called for a second opportunity to speak. This was promptly rejected by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Çavuşoğlu clearly thought he was dealing with the Turkish public where he can disseminate the fake news with a high level of believability and little scrutiny, and became frustrated with the rejection that he resigned from the meeting even before the conference was over.
On Twitter, Dendias said “During the Council of Foreign Ministers of the NATO member states, I referred to the recent developments in Evros and the instrumentalization of people, which undermines the values of the Alliance,” but offered no further details to what the diplomatic source revealed.
Both Greece and Turkey became NATO members in 1952, becoming the first new members of the alliance since the formation of it from the original 12 founders. Despite technically becoming NATO ‘allies’, relations have remained hostile between Greece and Turkey, mostly notably during the 1955 Istanbul pogrom when the Greek population of the city decreased from 116,108 to 49,081, the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and the 1996 Imia Island crisis.
In 2019, Turkish war planes violated Greece’s airspace 4,811 times and Ankara redrew the maritime borders of the Eastern Mediterranean on a new map with the Muslim Brotherhood government in Libya. The new map claimed large swathes of Greece’s maritime space. NATO has not condemned or punished Turkey for any of its hostile actions against Greece.