Wednesday, 01 April 2020 07:56

GERMANY - Author spreads fears and hatred over asylum seekers crossing Turkey-Greece border

Using fear-mongering and militaristic language, an article on the political blog Die Achse des Guten, claims that the opening of the Turkish border with Greece will lead to a “new wave of immigration” that could be “larger than that of 2015”. This is Germany’s media monitoring highlight for March. 

This article is part of the Media Monitoring Highlights of March, a monthly overview of the most significant results of our monitoring of traditional and new media in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.  

Screen Shot 2020 04 02 at 08.59.53Date of publication: 2 March 2020 

Media outlet: Die Achse des Guten (Achgut.com), a political blog  

Author: Ramin Peymani, book writer and journalist 

Headline: “Refugees Reloaded: The Sultan Organises the Mass Rush”  

Link: bit.ly/Achgut_TurkeyGreece 

Description of the anti-Muslim and anti-migrant content: The article reports on the early developments, and possible consequences, of the decision by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to cease preventing migrants from trying to reach Europe through the Turkey-Greece border. It explains how the refugee deal signed between Turkey and the European Union in 2016 has always been fragile due to Turkey’s greater contractual power, and that the end of the agreement means the new arrival of migrants to Germany. The article reports this by using inflammatory words (“masses of immigrants”; “flood gates”) and fear-mongering language (“the fear that it could become larger than that of 2015”; “unforeseeable additional burdens”). The author creates a binary opposition between Erdogan, portrayed as evil (“it was a pact with the devil”) and the European Union, depicted as obedient (“Brussels humbly fulfilled his every wish”). Asylum seekers are described as posing a potential threat to Europe, through the infiltration of Islamic State members among the new arrivals. Furthermore, the use of militaristic language contributes to the idea of an immediate threat that needs to be urgently addressed: “an unknown number of Islamists [...] are waiting as ticking time bombs to be waved through from Turkey to Europe”. 

Myth Debunked: This article is a perfect example of unethical reporting on migration. By using incendiary language, the author’s intention is to fuel anger and invoke a  hateful reaction from the readers. Weaponised language that draws on anti-Muslim and anti-migrant tropes amplifies the fear of migrants. The article depicts asylum seekers as an unstoppable, indistinct “wave” of people who would constitute a terrorist threat as well as putting a strain on the German welfare system. The article also fuels fear through unsubstantiated numbers. The data regarding the 75,000 migrants that have allegedly crossed the border comes from a vague, unknown source (“Turkish information”). Moreover, while trustworthy journalistic reports have shown the staggering negligence of the EU when it comes to addressing refugee movements, Die Achse des Guten accuses the European Union of being submissive to Turkey. From cutting rescue missions in the Mediterranean to the violence of the Greek riot police officers at the border with Turkey, the EU is responsible for the human tragedies happening at its borders. Professional reporting, such as the media coverage offered by Al Jazeera and Deutsche Welle, would have relied on trustworthy sources, included the stories of those migrants who are assaulted and detained by the Greek police, called out both Turkey and the EU for human rights violations, and avoided discriminatory language. 

More to read: 

Why the language we use to talk about refugees matters 

A journey through the refugee crisis on the Greece-Turkey border 

Immigration panic: how the west fell for manufactured rage 

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