Greece, Turkey exchange barbs over migrants

Greece, Turkey exchange barbs over migrants

Greece on Thursday pushed back on criticism by Turkey that is violating the rights of refugees and migrants attempting to reach the country, saying Ankara has “instrumentalized human suffering.”

“Those who were condemned by the international community for instrumentalizing human suffering to serve political expediencies have obviously no right to school anyone in human rights,” Greece’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Thursday.

Earlier in the day, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said that Greece “maintains a bad track record as proven by the reports of international human rights organizations for flagrant violations of the fundamental rights and freedoms of the asylum seekers, especially the right to life.”

“It is shameful to call Turkey ‘barbaric’ by those who display all kinds of atrocities to the innocent people at the border in the eyes of the world,” he continued.

Aksoy said Greek authorities should respect the rights of asylum-seekers and “not torture or mistreat them or push them back over the border.”

On its side, the Greek Foreign ministry lamented Turkey’s “unprecedented cynicism” just as the “first hesitant steps” had just been initiated in Greek-Turkish dialogue.

Greece has said  it intends to proceed with plans to extend its fence at the border with Turkey in Evros to prevent a mass influx of undocumented migrants trying to reach the European Union.

Speaking to a radio station on Wednesday, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said the move was deemed necessary in the wake of remarks by Turkish officials that presaged a fresh migrant wave toward Europe following the lifting of coronavirus measures.

“Such comments… naturally raise concerns in our country,” he said.

In a visit to the border on Wednesday, Citizens’ Protection Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis said the fence will be built “in defense of our country’s interests.”

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