Rebuttal to Spiegel and Bellingcat’s investigation regarding “dead migrant” video

Editor’s note: On May 8, the prominent German magazine Der Spiegel published an article arguing that Greek security forces shot dead a Pakistani illegal immigrant who was trying to enter the country from Turkey. The article was based on the findings of Nick Waters, a former British officer working for the investigative site Bellingcat.


Over 100 Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) are now requesting that there be an official investigation into the incident and that Greece be sanctioned if proved responsible. But how accurate is the article? Not as accurate as some would hope. Buttressed with weak evidence and ambiguities, it tries to incriminate the Greek security forces.

Savvas Vlassis, a defense journalist, editor-in-chief of Doureios Ippos magazine, and a former Hellenic Army paratrooper, has written a rebuttal to Spiegel’s and Bellingcat’s investigation. The results are revealing. Before we delve into the rebuttal, some context is necessary in order to better understand the situation and appreciate the geopolitical nuances.

For years now, Greece and several other of the European Union’s (EU) border-nations have been on the receiving end of an unprecedented wave migrants, partly the result of the Syrian civil war. Millions of them have illegally entered the borders of the EU.

Throughout this struggle, the EU has been characteristically inconsistent and indecisive in its support of its own member-states — an attitude reminiscent of the economic crisis that rocked the Union a few years ago. Furthermore, several international and European left-leaning non-governmental organizations have been accusing the border-states of taking illegal measures to protect their own borders.

Turkey, meanwhile, has taken advantage of the situation and weaponized the refugees for its own international and regional benefits. In February, the Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan announced that his country would no longer stop refugees from trying to illegally enter Greece and Europe, thus unilaterally negating signed agreements between Turkey and the EU.

But he did more than that: In what amounts to a textbook asymmetrical warfare attack, Turkish military, paramilitary, and law enforcement personnel directly supported the attempts of thousands of refugees to cross the Greek border. The Turkish forces attacked and disrupted the Greek and European defenses. It’s worth noting that Turkey, like Greece, is a NATO member.

The following article was originally published in Greek on Doureios Ippos on May 9. Τhe May 8 report of the German magazine Der Spiegel suggests that the Pakistani, Muhammad Gulzar, was mortally wounded on March 4, 2020, in Pazarkule, Turkey. The report, which is based on an investigation by former British Army officer Nick Waters, who is working for the investigative site Bellingcat, states that Gulzar was killed by a 5.56mm bullet.

According to the Der Spiegel article, video footage “demonstrate[s] that Greek security forces likely used live rounds on 4 March 2020 against refugees and migrants trying to break through the Turkish-Greek border fence. We identified seven people who were wounded over a period of about 40 minutes, one of whom later died. His name was Muhammed Gulzar.” READ THE IMPRESSIVE RESPONSE HERE