Frontex scandal and Greece’s inhumanity in the Aegean

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 OCT 21, 2022 – DAILY SABAH


Feeding the poor and needy is an act that draws us closer to Allah. We earn His forgiveness, mercies and blessings through this act of charity.

“Anyone who looks after and works for a widow and a poor person is like a warrior fighting for Allah?s cause, or like a person who fasts during the day and prays all night. (Bukhari)

A Frontex coast guard counts migrants and refugees in the tiny harbor of Skala Sikamias, in Lesbos island, on Oct. 3, 2019. (AP Photo)

A Frontex coast guard counts migrants and refugees in the tiny harbor of Skala Sikamias, in Lesbos island, on Oct. 3, 2019. (AP Photo)

“Iknow many of you were shocked when you read the OLAF report. The report shocked me just as much as you did,” said Ylva Johansson.

Johansson, who was so surprised by the report by the European Union’s anti-fraud watchdog (OLAF), is not an official from the countries that stand against the Western bloc. She is an official from the very top of the union: Ylva Johansson is the European commissioner for internal affairs.

The OLAF report revealed a truth about the EU border agency, Frontex, that Türkiye has been officially shouting on every platform for months, providing images and evidence.

According to the OLAF report, which was shared with the public by the Germany-based Freedom of Information Portal, FragDenStaat, and the media outlets Der Spiegel and Lighthouse Reports, senior Frontex officials hid possible human rights violations by officials from the institution responsible for fundamental rights. Moreover, the authorities, which suspended aerial reconnaissance to prevent the recording of illegal activities, also co-financed the Greek units carrying out the pushbacks.

You did not read it wrong. Yes, Frontex, which is the largest institution under the umbrella of the EU with a budget of 754 million euros ($738 million) and is responsible for protecting the EU’s external borders, became the leading actor in one of the biggest scandals in the history of the EU.

Thanks to this report, it has been documented that all kinds of mistreatment, from torture to death, are committed with the approval and even support of Frontex.

Silence of West

While the news of the rescue of immigrants pushed to death by Greece circulated almost every day in the Turkish media and high-level Turkish officials brought the murders of immigrants in the Aegean to the attention of the public with satellite image, there was a great silence in the Western press. If this report had not leaked, perhaps this scandal would have been “settled” silently.

However, let us underline, while the report was leaked to the press, it still has not been given a place at the top of the agenda of the Western world. Nonetheless, despite the resignation of Frontex chief Fabrice Leggeri last April, the issue does not seem small enough to move on from with a demission. For example, let’s look at the following part from the news published in Der Spiegel:

“Frontex’s management has repeatedly concealed potential human rights violations from its fundamental rights authorities. The agency has disabled air surveillance equipment to avoid recording violations of law. Moreover, Frontex misled the bodies responsible for overseeing the agency. Despite this, Frontex did not put an end to joint operations by violating Article 46 of the relevant regulation.”

The aspect of the issue that concerns Tükiye is that it turns out Frontex covered up the Greek coast guard illegally pushing immigrants back into Turkish territorial waters. This truth, which Türkiye has pointed out for years, has also been registered by an EU institution.

The report also includes drones that “magically” leave or shut down whenever Greece engages in inhumane practices against refugees, and Frontex’s continued funding of Greece despite this inhumane treatment.

While the EU was awash with this scandal, Greek Minister of Immigration and Asylum Notis Mitarachi was able to pretend that nothing had happened and claimed that Türkiye was mistreating refugees. Sharing a photograph of vulnerable immigrants stripped naked, the Greek minister said, “Türkiye’s attitude towards the 92 immigrants we rescued at the border today is an embarrassment to civilization. We expect Ankara to investigate the incident and finally protect its borders with the EU.”

How ironic, isn’t it?

Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun also referred to the “significant timing” in his response and said:

“The Greek authorities must first give an account of the babies they caused to drown in the Aegean and the people they robbed, beat with belts and froze to death in the Meriç, by collaborating with Frontex.”

It is a fact that the Greek government owes this impudence to the “EU’s border commissioner.” This is the reason behind the unlimited tolerance and favor towards Athens in European capitals.

However, Greece’s efforts to prove itself to the great powers through the bodies of the immigrants who have nothing to lose but their lives in the Aegean are in vain. Since it is impossible to suppress Türkiye, which hosts nearly 6 million refugees.


Hilal Kaplan is a journalist and columnist. Kaplan is also board member of TRT, the national public broadcaster of Turkey.


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