A most bizarre Twitter exchange occurred over the weekend between an editor for Turkish state-funded propagandist outlet TRT World and Professor Nikos Michailidis from UMSL (Missouri, St.Louis).
In fact, it was so bizarre that Yusuf Erim, an editor for Turkish propagandist outlet TRT World, tweeted that “Greece is the one taking unilateral actions, Turkey hasn’t invaded anyone. You should thank Turkey for keeping Greece safe over the past decade.”
The exchange would begin with a discussion over Greece’s right to extend its territorial waters to 12 nautical miles in the Aegean, as ensured by the United Nations Charter Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The TRT World propagandist editor tweeted that:
“Turkey is not part of the UNCLOS and its parliament has historically reiterated on multiple occasions that it would treat this action as a declaration of war. I assume the current parliament will most likely take the historic stance on this issue.”
Turkey is one of only 15 countries in the whole world to not have signed or ratified UNCLOS. Seven of the non-signatories are landlocked countries.
Erim also referred to Turkey’s 1995 parliamentary declaration that if Greece enacted its right to extend its territorial waters from 6 nautical miles to 12, as ensured by international law, it would constitute a casus belli, i.e. reason to go to war.
Professor Michailidis responded to Erim’s tweet by saying “Bad for Turkey…,” in which the editor of the propagandist outfit said “Probably worse for Greece… I would suggest finding a bilateral compromise rather than a unilateral declaration.”
The Professor responded back by urging Turkey to recognise UNCLOS, in which the editor for propagandist TRT World said “stop buying into Greek nationalist narratives, push your leaders to make a smart, peaceful agreement with Turkey.”
“I’m not bullying anyone, just stating historical decisions and likely consequences of your country’s possible actions,” the TRT World propagandist editor added.
However, it was the following tweet where things became interesting, with the anthropology academic tweeting “Empty, irrational threats from a mafia, rogue state that has invaded almost every neighboring country.”
Erim responded with classic Turkish state-funded propaganda in the hilarious belief that English-language audiences, besides those from Pakistan, are as indoctrinated as their domestic readers and viewers.
“I’m almost certain they’re not empty words, from a Turkish national interest and security perspective they’re very rational moves, Greece is the one taking unilateral actions, Turkey hasn’t invaded anyone. You should thank Turkey for keeping Greece safe over the past decade.”
I’m almost certain they’re not empty words, from a Turkish national interest and security perspective they’re very rational moves, Greece is the one taking unilateral actions, Turkey hasn’t invaded anyone. You should thank Turkey for keeping Greece safe over the past decade.
— Yusuf Erim (@YusufErim34) January 23, 2021
Not withstanding, we of course cannot forget the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus that was deemed illegal by UN resolution 353 and 360.
There is also the recent Turkish invasion of Libya in support of the Muslim Brotherhood Government of National Accords whose mandate to govern expired in December 2017.
We also cannot forget Turkey’s occupation of northern Syria, which the TRT World propagandist editor attempted to justify because President Bashar al-Assad is not, in his eyes, legitimate, despite his government being a United Nations member.
Erim also had the audacity to demand Professor Michailidis to “thank Turkey for keeping Greece safe over the past decade.”
The TRT World propagandist editor of course forgets that the rest of the world does not have a suffocating media landscape like Turkey and only embarrasses himself by attempting to convince English-speakers that Turkey kept “Greece safe.”
Turkey is one of the lowest ranked countries in the world for media freedom, is the second most susceptible country surveyed on the European continent and its surrounds to fake news, has the most journalists jailed in the whole world, and 90% of media is government controlled.
With this in mind, it is reminded that as recently as last month that Turkey was caught facilitating the illegal migration of Somalians to Greece, which the TRT World propagandist editor of course knows about, but omitted.
In fact, Turkey attempts to portray itself in a humanitarian manner for hosting millions of refugees and illegal immigrant, including millions of Syrians, while it simultaneously supported terrorist organisations like ISIS and Al-Qaeda that caused Syrians to seek refuge to begin with.
But of course, the majority of the world already knows this reality, but Erim, as emphasised, still has not realised that the majority of those outside of Turkey do not absorb the propaganda of the Turkish regime like their citizens do.
Taken aback by the ridiculous claims made by the TRT World propagandist editor, Professor Michailidis responded back by highlighting that the TRT World propagandist is “a joke.”
Erim then attempted to portray himself as a voice of reason and Professor Michailidis as highly emotional and incapable of cordial discussion while at the same time making the false claims that Turkey has never invaded a country and protects Greece.
You seem to get very frustrated and lose your academic composure when someone points out the realities on the ground and in the region to you. Stop living in a fantasy.
— Yusuf Erim (@YusufErim34) January 23, 2021
However, his attempts of portraying himself to be reasonable and capable of discussion to resolve bilateral issues, despite the bilateral issue existing because Turkey refuses to acknowledge UNCLOS, which is customary law as its recognised by most of the world, forgot his call for Turkey to invade Greece.
In a tweet from August 30, the TRT World propagandist editor proposed that Kastellorizo needs to be demilitarized, even through Turkish military intervention.
But of course, as Erim has already shown, despite his fake attempts of appearing reasonable and neutral, while disregarding international law, propagates that Kastellorizo by international law must be demilitarised.
The strategic first step could be to call an emergency session of Parliament and authorize an overseas troop deployment for Kastellorizo. Give Greece an adequate deadline to peacefully evacuate military assets from the island. https://t.co/o2Fe1JfuAD
— Yusuf Erim (@YusufErim34) August 30, 2020
This of course is far from the truth.
Erim purposefully omits, as it his job as a state-funded editor of TRT World propaganda, that the Dodecanese islands, which Kastellorizo is a part of, were ceded to Greece in full sovereignty by the Paris Peace Treaty between Italy and the World War II Allies in April 1947.
There is a National Guard presence on the Dodecanese islands, which has been declared in accordance with provisions.
With regard to Turkish claims on the demilitarisation of the Dodecanese islands, it should be noted that:
• Turkey is not a signatory state to this Treaty, which therefore constitutes a “res inter alios acta” for Turkey; i.e., an issue pertaining to others. According to Article 34 of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties, a treaty does not create obligations or rights for third countries.
• The demilitarised status of the Dodecanese islands was imposed after the decisive intervention of the Soviet Union and echoes Moscow’s political intentions at that point in time.
It should, however, be noted that a demilitarised status lost its raison d’être with the creation of NATO and the Warsaw Pact as it is incompatible with countries’ participating in military alliances.
Against this backdrop, demilitarised status ceased to apply to the Italian islands of Pantelaria, Lampedusa, Lampione and Linosa, as well as West Germany on the one hand, and Bulgaria, Romania, East Germany, Hungary and Finland on the other.