The Troll of the Month is an incident we choose every month to expose racist and anti-religious haters and to show positive outcomes in the fight against intolerance in Europe.
Savvas Kalenteridis is a former military officer, a writer and a foreign policy commentator who regularly writes for top Greek media outlets. On September 20th, he wrote a piece commenting on recent developments in immigration in Greece. The article was published on online news platform Pontos News.
In the piece, Kalenteridis analyses the immigration policies of Greece, Bulgaria and Albania, comparing the specificities of each. He claims that Greece follows a soft approach in comparison to the other two countries when it comes to immigration, and sees this as a serious flaw. He is particularly critical of the immigration policy implemented by the SYRIZA administration. Kalenteridis ends his article by stating:
“We signaled the danger to the previous government but our opinion has not been heard. This resulted in: [...] giving Turkey a weapon to turn Greece into a Muslim country in 5 years time, overturning, in fact, the Greek Independence Revolution of 1821 which was held in order to oppose Islam.”
This narrative mirrors that of many far-right politicians, specifically the idea of a ‘Muslim takeover’ and the ‘Islamization’ of a country. What Kalenteridis is claiming here is not based in truth but instead reads like a conspiracy theory.It is troubling to see these unfounded claims being hosted on a news platform and coming from someone regularly hosted in mainstream outlets and to whom many in society look up to.
The claims made in the Pontos News article are a good example of how anti-Muslim rhetoric is being communicated to Greek society. Islamization, the ‘Great Replacement’, a Muslim ‘invasion’ through immigrants: these are all tropes we are observing in European media. The more unchallenged these ideas go, the more normalised they become in society. It is of high importance that news platforms go back to reporting facts, instead of hosting the views of figures who rely more on conspiratorial claims than truths.