Turkey says Greece using EU, migrants for political agenda
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy on Sunday blasted Greece over what he called "illegal and inhumane policies" against asylum seekers and refugees at its doors.
"It is Greece’s use of the EU and irregular migrants as vehicles for short-term political gain and its lack of approach to problems with a humanitarian outlook that is the main source of regional problems,” state-run Anadolu news agency quoted Aksoy as saying.
Turkey, home to 3.6 million Syrian refugees, announced on Feb. 28 that it would no longer abide by a 2016 deal to keep refugees on its territory, accusing the EU of falling short on commitments of financial support. Tens and thousands of migrants have massed on the border with Greece. Skirmishes broke out between westbound asylum-seekers and Greek police and soldiers as Athens increased its security, shutting its border crossing.
"Greece does not protect the borders of the European Union; to the contrary, (it) disgracefully tramples on the very principles and values this Union was built upon, by treating the migrants coming to its gates as enemies instead of human beings," Aksoy said.
The Foreign Ministry spokesman went on to say Greece was "attacking asylum seekers, refugees and migrants without sparing women and children, by using gas, bullets and pesticides "which remind(s) of Nazi practices."
Greece has denied claims by Ankara that it fired live ammunition at refugees and migrants on their shared border, with several allegedly killed.
Aksoy’s statements follow those of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who earlier this week likened Greece's treatment of refugees and migrants at its borders to Nazi atrocities, escalating tensions between Ankara and Athens.