Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has accused Greece of illegal pushbacks and of pursuing a policy of “political repression and discrimination” against its Muslim community.
President Erdogan made the remarks during his address at the 77th session of the UN General Assembly in New York on Tuesday.
“Greece is turning the Aegean into a cemetery for migrants,” he said.
“In the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean, a continued stability and peace depends on the respect of everybody’s rights and interests,” Erdogan said, adding that “we call on Greece to cease its policy of provocations and tension and to respond to the call for cooperation and support.”
“Turkey will defend its rights and interests to the very last in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean and will not be entrapped in the games of those who pursue a strategy of tension for political gains,” he stressed.
Following his address, he took to Twitter writing: “I wish the 77th meeting of the United Nations General Assembly to be fruitful in a way that will meet the hopes and expectations of humanity, and to be beneficial for our countries and all humanity.”
Birleşmiş Milletler Genel Kurulu 77’nci toplantısının, insanlığın umut ve beklentilerine cevap teşkil edecek başarılara imza atacak şekilde verimli geçmesini, ülkelerimiz ve tüm insanlık için hayırlara vesile olmasını diliyorum. #UNGA pic.twitter.com/1Eub6cWpNf— Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (@RTErdogan) September 20, 2022
Erdogan’s inflammatory statements have been slammed by Greece’s Foreign Minister, Nikos Dendias, who is also in New York and told reporters: “Turkey’s position is testing the limits of logic.”
“The country that is instrumentalising the issue of migration, endangering tens of thousands of lives, comes here to accuse Greece of crimes against humanity, when in fact it is using false data that has been discredited for over ten days,” Dendias said.
“The country that directly threatens with war, the country that questions Greek sovereignty over the islands of the Aegean comes here to talk about good neighbourly relations.”
“The country that occupies foreign territory, including that of the Republic of Cyprus, comes here to talk about conditions of security and co-operation in the Eastern Mediterranean,” the Foreign Minister added.
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. pic.twitter.com/0jKmZor21e— Nikos Dendias (@NikosDendias) September 20, 2022
“Turkey would be best served to respect international law and to return as quickly as possible to the realm of the rational.”
Directly addressing Erdogan’s comments surrounding the treatment of Muslims, Dendias said: “Greece is a European country that absolutely respects human rights and, of course, the rights of its Muslim community.”
“This is proven by the raw numbers – the Muslim community in Greece is growing, expanding, and prospering,” Dendias said.
“We call on Turkey to answer on what happened to the Greek community of Constantinople and how the thriving – with more than 100,000 members in the community, today numbers less than 5,000 people.”
“As it was said in the past, Turkey has no right to speak,” he concluded.
The Muslim minority in 🇬🇷 is expanding and prospering. 🇹🇷 should explain what happened to the 🇬🇷 minority in Constantinople 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.— Nikos Dendias (@NikosDendias) September 20, 2022