NEW YORK – Turkey is not in a position to criticize Greece over human rights, after “using migration as a tool and endangering tens of thousands of human lives,” Greek Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias said in New York on Tuesday, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly meeting.
In statements to the press, Dendias responded to charges by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan levelled at Greece during his General Assembly speech. Erdogan had accused Greece of “turning the Aegean Sea into a graveyard for refugees with its unlawful and reckless pushbacks,” and charged that it “has been pursuing discriminatory and oppressive policies against the Turkish Muslim minority” in Thrace.
Dendias said that Turkey is increasingly challenging the limits of human logic. “The country that directly threatens with war, which has issued a casus belli, which has challenged Greek sovereignty of the Aegean Islands, is now speaking of good neighborly relations.” A country that has occupied territory of foreign countries, including that of the Republic of Cyprus, he added, is speaking of building security and cooperation in the East Mediterranean.
The Greek FM reiterated that Turkey needs to respect International Law. Greece, he said, is a European country that respects human rights and its Muslim minority is “growing, expanding, and prospering.” Turkey should respond as to “how a Greek minority in Istanbul that once numbered 100,000 people is now restricted to fewer than 5,000 people. Turkey has no right to speak, as the expression goes,” he underlined.