Greece urges Turkey to return to the realm of logical reasoning

Greece urges Turkey to return to the realm of logical reasoning
Update: 21 September 2022 21:00
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Greek Foreign Minister Dendias said Turkey has no right to speak, in response to Erdogan’s speech at UNGA77

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias called on Turkey to return to the realm of logical reasoning, as soon as possible.

Slamming Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s latest accusations against Greece of turning the Aegean into a refugee graveyard, Dendias said Turkey's positions are testing the limits of logic.

“The country which is instrumentalizing the migration issue by putting tens of thousands of lives in danger, accuses Greece even of crimes against humanity, using, false accusations which have been addressed ten days ago. The country that directly threatens Greece with war, which has issued a casus belli and is challenging the Greek sovereignty of the Aegean islands, speaks of good neighborly relations. The country which occupies the territories of foreign countries, including the Republic of Cyprus, speaks of security and understanding in the Eastern Mediterranean,” Dendias told reporters in New York, in response to Erdogan’s remarks addressed to the United Nations General Assembly.

Erdogan on Tuesday blamed Greece of turning the Aegean into a graveyard of refugees with its “unlawful and reckless pushbacks.” 

The refugee crisis cannot be solved by placing innocent people seeking a better future in concentration camps or leaving them on boats to die, Erdogan said and called on international organizations, including the European Union and the UN to stop turning a blind eye to Greece’s “inhuman and unlawful practices,” and to put an end to “these atrocities that are tantamount to crimes against humanity.” 

Turkey had better respect international law and return at least to the realm of logical reasoning as soon as possible, Dendias said, adding that the specific claims of the Turkish side have been answered many times before. 

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

“First and foremost, Greece is a European country that fully respects human rights, including the rights of the Muslim minority,” Dendias also said, in response to Erdogan’s accusing Athens of pursuing “discriminatory and oppressive policies” against the Muslim Turkish minority.

“Besides, the numbers speak for themselves,” Dendias said.

Greek top diplomat said the Muslim minority in Greece is expanding and prospering and urged Turkey to explain what happened to the Greek community of Istanbul and how the once thriving minority of over 100,000 has now been reduced to less than 5,000 people.

“As it was said in the past, Turkey has no right to speak,” he said.

Tensions between the two NATO allies have further strained this year over a range of issues, including territorial claims. While Ankara and Athens blame each other of violating their airspace, Turkey also accuses Greece for militarizing its islands in violation of international treaties.

Hydrocarbon exploration rights in the Eastern Mediterranean and Cyprus are some of other conflicting issues between the two neighbors.