Greek police worked with xenophobes to arrest me - Turkish-Armenian linguist

Turkish-Armenian linguist Sevan Nişanyan has said that he was arrested by Greek police cooperated with members of far-right groups in Greece targeting him over his restoration plans on the island of Samos.

The Sixty-six-year-old writer has been living in Greece for the past four years, after fleeing in 2017 a Turkish prison, where he was serving a prison sentence on charges of violating zoning laws.

Greek police arrested Nişanyan in Samos on Dec. 31. The incident, announced by Nişanyan’s wife on Twitter, took place after Greek authorities refused to renew his residence permit following his declaration by Athens as “persona non grata.”

The linguist was released after spending nine days in custody on condition that he will leave the country within two weeks, the Armenian Embassy in Athens announced earlier this month.

Samos and all of the Greek islands in recent years are seeing a surge in xenophobia and racism, Nişanyan told Alin Ozinan for Artı Gerçek TV in an interview published on Sunday.

"The police force is among the agitators in this matter and it appears as though - as a result of a ridiculous chain of paranoia and hearsay-  they came to the conclusion that I needed to go back to Turkey as a Turk,’’ the linguist said.

A rise in the number of people crossing the Mediterranean from Turkey to seek asylum in the European Union at Greece’s borders has exacerbated tensions between the two neighbouring countries for years.

Nişanyan told Artı Gerçek TV that he made “tactical and strategic’’ mistakes when he first arrived in Samos, including a series of plans to renovate old buildings, a field in which he is an expert, in an effort to increase the island’s appeal.

This translated to “A Turk has arrived and he is going to try and take our village from us,” for locals, Nişanyan said. “The only thing produced on this island is gossip.’’

Nişanyan said he has taken legal action over his deportation, but if all fails, he is ready to relocated to another country.

The linguist in October was declared persona non grata by Greek authorities, which he said he found out as he was trying to go back to the island of Samos following a visit to Belgrade.

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