Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has criticized Greece’s decision to suspend the reception of asylum applications, urging the country to comply with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations.
Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced the temporary suspension Sunday, saying Greece had invoked an emergency clause of an EU treaty “to ensure full European support.”
“We call on, notably, Greece and all EU countries to respectfully treat the refugees, which came to their territories, in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” Erdogan was quoted by Turkish media as telling a meeting of his party’s parliamentary group in Ankara Wednesday.
According to the same reports, Erdogan showed a photo allegedly depicting Greek refugees that fled the Nazi occupation to Syria.
“One of the Greek boys or girls in this photo is maybe the grandfather or grandmother of Mitsotakis,” Erdogan was quoted as saying.
“Do not forget that one day [Greeks] may find themselves in a situation where they will have to seek compassion,” the Turkish strongman said according to the reports.
Ankara has been widely criticized for trying to “blackmail” the EU by opening its borders to thousands of migrants and refugees seeking to flee to Europe.
Greek authorities said they thwarted an attempt by about 1,000 people overnight to make their way across the Evros wetland area, at the southern end of the border.
They said that in the 24 hours between Monday and Tuesday morning, they had prevented a total of 5,183 people from entering Greece, and arrested 45 people, mostly from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Morocco and Bangladesh.
Greece has made clear its borders are shut. It has sent military and police reinforcements to the area, which have used tear gas and water cannon to repel mass attempts by migrants to cross into the country. Authorities have also set up cordons of police and army checks on and near the border, arresting those who managed to make it through.