Dramatic footage has emerged of a Greek coastguard ship blocking Turkish coastguard ships and illegal immigrants from entering Greece's maritime waters near the Aegean island of Lesvos.
According to a statement by the Greek Coast Guard, following the Turkish actions, repeated attempts were made to contact Turkish authorities and Turkish coastguards, whose number gradually increased in order to escort the illegal immigrants into Greece, which utterly failed.
In the maritime area to the northeast of Lesvos on the border of Greek territorial waters, a sufficient number of patrol boats of the Greek Navy gradually appeared.
The boat with the illegal immigrants, which did not enter the Greek territorial waters at all despite the efforts of the Turkish coastguards to push it into them, was finally collected at noon today by a Turkish coastguard and returned to Turkey.
This is just another failure by Turkey to continue an aggressive foreign policy, and being obviously humiliated, Turkish media has mobilised to turn this failure into a victory by claiming that it was Turkish ships who kept the Greek coastguard out of their waters.
— A Haber (@ahaber) April 19, 2020
— Akşam Gazetesi (@Aksam) April 19, 2020
— ANADOLU AJANSI (@anadoluajansi) April 18, 2020
Of course the majority of Turkish people will believe this propaganda. Turkey is one of the lowest ranked countries for media freedoms in the world, is the second most susceptible country surveyed in Europe and its surrounds to believe fake news, has the most journalists jailed in the whole world, and 90% of media is government controlled. It is fair to be sceptical of Turkey and its coverage of the latest migrant crisis, and here is why.
The Ministry of Immigration and Asylum is in the process of decongesting the reception and accommodation centers for illegal immigrants from five islands in the eastern Aegean, announcing that immediately after Easter the gradual movement of "a total population of 2,380 vulnerable relatives of asylum seekers" will begin.
The operation concerns the relocation of 2,380 refugees from Lesvos, Chios, Kos, Samos and Leros to accommodation structures in mainland Greece, with the aim of further reducing the risk of a possible coronavirus outbreak.
"The transfer time of the 2,380 asylum seekers is expected to be completed within two weeks and is directly related to the development of general protection measures by Covid-19 concerning general travel restrictions," the statement by the Ministry said.
Since 2015, Turkey has been increasing the amount of illegal immigrants it allows to try and enter Greece in an effort to pressurise the European country. Turkey hopes to use many of the illegal immigrants as agents to serve Ankara's foreign policy of territorial expansionism with all of its neighbours.