ANKARA – After sending thousands of refugees and migrants to the Greek border – breaking terms of a 2016 swap deal with the European Union – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan repeated unfounded claims Greece is mistreating those who get across and pushed back.
“Greece is not aware of international law; (Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos) Mitsotakis needs to look at the universal declaration of human rights. They need to know and accept that their treatment at the border is murderous. We will expose again the pictures of refugees stripped of their clothes this year at the UN General Assembly,” Erdogan was quoted by the Turkish pro-government Daily Sabah as saying.
He was said to have made that remark while on a flight back from Brussels where EU leaders weren’t able to strike a deal to make him pull back the refugees and migrants and as he demanded the bloc fulfill terms of the deal, including giving Turkey some 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) being held back from a promised 6 billion euros ($6.8 billion.)
That was designed to keep millions of refugees and migrants in Turkey, where they had gone fleeing war and strife in their homelands, especially Afghanistan and the civil war in Syria, where the deaths of 33 Turkish soldiers led Erdogan to fear another influx.
He said Greek riot police and Army units at the border were using excessive force to keep out refugees and migrants in an area also being patrolled by Greek vigilante groups, said The New York Times and other media.
He also repeated claims that four or five refugees have been killed in the push, allegations that Greece has repeatedly denied and haven’t been proved beyond his assertions.
“Greece should open its borders and let refugees go to other countries. Yet, they cannot voice this, which results in Turkey carrying all the burden. We want a fair, humanitarian and equal share of burden,” Erdogan said.
He earlier said Greece should open its border because migrants and refugees won’t’ stay there but want to get on to more prosperous countries which have already shut their doors and built fences and added patrols to keep them from getting in either.