GR US

Turkish Minister Says Greece, EU Treating Refugees Like Holocaust Victims

Αssociated press

Migrants carry plastic bags with goods in Edirne near the Turkish-Greek border on Saturday, March 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Emrah Gurel)

ATHENS - With a standoff continuing at the northern land border with Greece where Turkey opened the gates and sent thousands of refugees and migrants there, urging them to cross before Greece closed the door, Turkey’s Deputy Foreign Minister Yavuz Selim Kiran compared their treatment by Greece and the European Union to Nazi WWII death camps.

“These photos are not from Auschwitz, but from Pazarkule (the Turkish side of the border crossing),” Kiran said in a tweet showing pictures of men in their underwear on Turkish soil after being sent back by Greek security forces. “Greece takes the money, phones, identity cards and clothes of innocent migrants crossing the border and sends them back,” Kiran said, reported Kathimerini.

“Europe and the world are playing the ostrich,” he said while tagging Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and the official accounts of the European Commission and the EU Council.

Greece denied the accusations, including claims by Turkish officials that refugees and migrants were being killed, describing them as Turkish propaganda and a disinformation campaign to discredit Greece.

Greek authorities said they had prevented 1,646 people from entering Greece between March 8-9 along the border where thousands of migrants have been trying to cross into Greece since Turkey said on Feb. 28 it wouldn’t keep them in.

That violated an already essentially-suspended swap deal with the EU under which Turkey was supposed to contain them and in return get 6 billion euros ($6.81 billion) in aid as well as visa-free travel in EU countries and accelerated accession talks to join the bloc.

Erdogan urged Greece to “open your gates” to refugees and said they didn’t want to stay there although the EU has closed its borders to them, dumping the problem largely on Greece and other countries reneged on promises to help take some of the overload but then didn't.