In Purgatory: Turkish Migrants’ Dance With Tragedy in Northern Greece
A group of Turkish migrants barely escaped tragedy on the Turkish-Greek border after a social media campaign. But others are not that lucky amid increasing Greek pushbacks of refugees.
A video message shot by a group of Turkish migrants, who had recently crossed the Greek border after fleeing political persecution in Turkey, forewarned of an impending disaster: freezing to death in a no man’s land unless authorities reach them as quickly as possible. In a direct plea to the international community, a Turkish man evidently expressed the peril that awaited them after showing their pitiful situation on the first day of December.
They were lucky. A social media blitz by people who closely monitor the border crossings between Turkey and Greece after the democratic breakdown in the former spurred recalcitrant Greek border police into action. The group involving women and children was taken to a safe place by the Greek security forces, we are told later.
The saga evoked the painful memories of migrants trapped between Belarus and Poland amid a diplomatic tug of war between the E.U. and the Belarussian strongman — Aleksandr G. Lukashenko. The autocratic leader unabashedly weaponized Middle Eastern asylum seekers in a bid to ramp up pressure on Brussels to lift the recently imposed sanctions on Belarus after a crackdown on political opponents following a rigged presidential election last year.
What Poland went through was not a strange phenomenon to Greece. The country stood at the forefront of the refugee crisis that swept the E.U. in 2015 and 2016 when more than a million refugees descended on the continent in a journey that involved several countries such as Turkey, Greece, the Balkans, and finally European countries as the final destination.