Turkey’s Erdogan accuses Greece of Nazi tactics against migrants at border
Istanbul (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan accused Greek security forces on Wednesday of behaving like Nazis for using force against migrants trying to cross the border from Turkey into the European Union.
Tens of thousands of migrants have been trying to get into EU member Greece since Turkey said on Feb. 28 it would no longer keep them on its territory as part of a 2016 deal with Brussels reached in return for European aid for the refugees.
Greek security forces have used tear gas and water cannon to stop the migrants. Athens has suspended asylum applications for a month and says it has prevented more than 42,000 migrants illegally entering the EU over the past two weeks.
In the Turkish parliament, Erdogan showed lawmakers of his AK Party video footage of scenes at the Greek border.
“There is no difference between those images on the Greek border and what the Nazis did,” he said.
“Opening fire on innocent people, exposing them to all kinds of inhumane treatment… (It) is barbarism in the full sense of the word,” he said, repeating his call on Greece to let migrants cross its territory to reach richer western European countries.
“Why are you obstructing them so much and carrying out Nazi tortures on them?” he added.
Turkey has previously accused Greek security forces of shooting dead four migrants, a claim rejected by Athens as “fake news”. Greece says it has a duty to protect the EU border.
On Wednesday, a Reuters correspondent in the area saw a thick cloud of smoke billowing near the village of Kastanies on the Greek side of the border, and also heard chanting.
“There was a lot of tension with teargas fired from both sides on the Greek-Turkish border (Kastanies),” a Greek government official told Reuters.