Austria's FM: Greece Has Our Full Support for the Protection of the EU's External Borders

Αssociated Press

FILE - Greece's Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, right, shakes hands with a police officer near the Kipoi border gate, Evros region, at the Greek-Turkish border on Tuesday, March 3, 2020. (Dimitris Papamitsos/Greek Prime Minister's Office via AP)

VIENNA -- "It is necessary and right for the European Union to protect its external borders from illegal migration, and Greece has our full support here - and this attitude by Austria is also not new," Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said in statements to the Austrian News Agency on Wednesday, rejecting Turkish criticism of Austria's federal chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, who said in an interview with a Greek newspaper, "we must not allow Turkey to blackmail us."

"Kurz, who has closed the border to refugees, violates EU values, human rights and the Geneva Convention on Refugees," Turkish foreign ministry spokesperson Hami Aksoy said earlier, adding that Austria's attitude towards asylum seekers is no different from that of Greece.

"Ankara's criticism of the chancellor's statements lacks any basis," he said. "Austria certainly does not need instruction (from Turkey) on the respect of human rights and the full respect of fundamental rights and freedoms. All people in Austria enjoy internationally guaranteed protection of human rights without restrictions," he added.