Turkey blames Greece for turning the Aegean into a refugee graveyard
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed Greece of turning the Aegean Sea into a refugee graveyard.
“While we struggling to prevent the deaths of more babies like Aylan [Kurdi], Greece is turning the Aegean into a graveyard of refugees with its unlawful and reckless pushbacks,” said Erdogan during his address to the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.
The refugee crisis cannot be solved by placing innocent people seeking a better future in concentration camps or leaving them on boats to die, state-run Anadolu news agency cited Erdogan as saying.
“It is high time for Europe and the United Nations to put an end to these atrocities that are tantamount to crimes against humanity,” Erdogan said.
Turkey and Greece, both NATO allies, have long been at odds over a string of issues, including migration. Ankara frequently accuses Greece of violent and unlawful migrant pushbacks, describing the act as a crime against humanity. Athens on the other hand, blames Ankara of deliberately encouraging migrants to cross border, despite being obliged to stop them entering Greece, under a 2016 deal signed with the European Union. Last year, Greece extended the fence and installed a surveillance system to further secure its land border with Turkey.
“We expect Greece to shun its politics of provocations and heed our calls for cooperation,” Erdogan said.
Erdogan also called on the international organizations, particularly the European Union, to stop turning a blind eye to Greece’s “inhuman and unlawful practices,” Anadolu said.