On 15th August, India celebrated its 77th Independence Day. Greece’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a heartfelt message for the people of India. They wrote, “Our heartfelt congratulations & best wishes to all our Indian friends & the Gov’t of India on the joyful occasion of Indian Independence Day! Looking forward to further expanding our excellent Greece-India relations, on the basis of close people-to-people ties & shared values.”
Our heartfelt congratulations & best wishes to all our Indian friends & the Gov’t of #India on the joyful occasion of 🇮🇳#IndependenceDay! Looking forward to further expanding our excellent🇬🇷🇮🇳relations, on the basis of close people-to-people ties & shared values@IndianDiplomacy pic.twitter.com/w8a40Pm14h
— Υπουργείο Εξωτερικών (@GreeceMFA) August 14, 2023
A day before, on 14th August, Pakistan celebrated its Independence Day, and Greece’s MFA’s message to them was curt and perfunctory. They wrote, “Warm congratulations to the people and Government of Pakistan as they celebrate today their Independence Day!”
— Υπουργείο Εξωτερικών (@GreeceMFA) August 14, 2023
The sharp difference between the language of the posts is not surprising because Pakistanis generally hate Greece as they consider themselves brothers of Turkey (by the consideration of the Islamic Ummah). For those unaware, Turkey and Greece do not have friendly relationships and are often considered “enemies”.
Greece and Turkey have been historical and cultural rivals for quite some time. Greek lands were under Ottoman rule since the fall of Constantinople. Greece gained its Independence from Ottoman Turks in 1832 after a long struggle and eventually a population exchange was done. However, the two modern nations still have conflicting interests over marine territories and over the Island of Cyprus. Pakistanis, fascinated and mesmerized by the Ottoman Islamic roots of modern Turkey, often profess themselves as brothers of Turkey and shower additional negativity on Greece, despite arriving in the European NATO nation by the boatloads and working in large numbers in Greece as migrant laborers.
Pakistanis have been criticizing Greece
Pakistani migrants in Greece have been in the news recently for holding an anti-India rally in Athens and raising anti-India slogans. Pakistani workers, often illegal immigrants, are not seen favorably in Greece and many blame them for the rise in crime rates. Recently the Pakistani media reported that the Greek embassy in Islamabad had canceled the visas of hundreds of Pakistanis.
Greece also faced criticism and flak from Pakistan in recent times after over 290 Pakistanis coming to Greece died on a migrant boat. News reports had claimed that the Pakistanis were made to stay on the lowest levels of the ship when it capsized and sunk off the Greek coast. The Greeks responded by telling that Pakistanis should create better conditions in their own country rather than criticizing a foreign nation for not taking illegal immigrants.
They protested Pakistan’s chronic corruption, financing of jihadists, & costly maintenance of nuclear bombs – you know, all the important stuff (forget reliable electricity supplies, clean drinking water, sanitation etc)?
No, they blame Greece for their risky & illegal migration https://t.co/oPCiPXOm6t
— Paul Antonopoulos 🇬🇷🇨🇾 (@oulosP) August 14, 2023
Pakistan’s love for Turkey
In May 2020, Pakistanis trended Boycott UAE after diplomatic tensions between Turkey and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Tensions have been raised between Turkey and the UAE over the Libyan crisis as both countries support the opposing sides in a power struggle in Libya.
Pakistan’s Turkey love is so deep that they do not care about their own starving people when it comes to helping Turkey. In February 2023, when Turkey suffered a strong earthquake, reportedly without any formal orders by the Pakistan government or the provincial governments, officers of the Balochistan government found a fifty percent cut in their salaries because they were required to contribute to Turkey’s relief aid. Not to forget, Pakistan is suffering from a severe financial crisis. Instead of ensuring food on the plates of its citizens, the government decided to donate 50% of the government officials’ salaries to Turkey.
Pakistanis go overboard in promoting Turkish television series as well. In May 2020, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the Turkish TV series Ertugrul broke all records in Pakistan as the Pakistanis binge-watched it. The Turkey-love was so potent that the then Prime Minister Imran Khan even urged Pakistanis to watch the Ottoman drama Ertugrul.
Prime Minister Imran Khan shares his views over PTV telecast of famous Turkish drama serial Diriliş: Ertuğrul; it will make our youth learn about Islamic history and ethics pic.twitter.com/pymAPbJFLr
— Prime Minister’s Office (@PakPMO) April 24, 2020
It is notable here that Greece has a sizable population of Pakistani migrants. On 14th August, Pakistan’s Independence Day was celebrated by the Pakistani community in Athens.
On the other hand, India and Greece are coming closer than ever before considering their common geopolitical interests, and are looking to improve trade and defense operations. PM Modi is to visit Greece this month. He will be the first Indian PM after Indira Gandhi to visit Greece.