Nikos Arvanites / George X. Protopapas
The fury of social media provoked the statement of Greek Education Minister Nikos Filis that the slaughter of tens of thousands Pontic, Greeks by Turks was a case of ethnic cleansing rather than genocide. The social media strongly criticized Nikos Filis and some of mentions were derogatory for him.
Nikos Filis has 624 overall mentions in Greek-speaking internet according to the tool Palo Professional (paloPro) for the monitoring period 2 November – 3 November 2015. The majority of mentions with regards Nikos Filis delivered mainly from Twitter 457 mentions, followed from Blogs 67, Sites 56, Facebook 40, Opinions 4.
The sentiments of the mentions for Nikos Filis characterized by the dominance of negative sentiments. Particularly Twitter gathers 78% negative sentiments, 18% neutral και το 4% positive.
Main Topics / Key insights
The main topics for Nikos Filis focused on his controversial statement and the intense reactions on the political and social level. Particularly the main topics according to Top 10 Topics of paloPro were:
• Nikos Filis’ statement “This does not mean that we do not recognize the blood, the pain, everything the Pontic Greeks had to suffer due to the beastliness of the Turks,” he said. “But this is something different from genocide in the purely scientific sense.”
• The statement of president of PanHellenic Federation of Pontic Associations Mrs. Christina Sahinidis that Nikos Filis is “new Kemal Ataturk”.
• According the Greek law (2014) genocide deniers face a fine between 5,000 and 20,000 euros and a prison sentence. Nikos Filis should punish based on the aforementioned law.
• The statement of the President of Pontic Associations that “Filis is new Repousi” ( Maria Repousi former MP of Democratic Left supported that there was “a congestion of Greeks in the port of Smyrna in 1922” during Minor Asia Catastrophe.
• The historical documents which prove Genocide of Pontics.
• 45 conservative MPs of New Democracy called prime- minister Alexis Tsipras to fire Nikos Filis.
The dominance of negative sentiments in the Greek internet for Greek Education Minister Nikos Filis displays that social media worked as patriotic tool of containment against any such statements which insult sensitive Greek historical topics.
In parallel the users of social media seems to believe that Turkey could exploit Nikos Filis’ statement for Pontic Genocide in order to undermine Greek national interests.
Moreover the qualitative data paloPro shows that the controversial Filis’ statement reflects the ideological Greel Left preconceptions against topic which strengthen national sentiments.