ANKARA, Turkey (HPD) — Turkey and Greece traded more recriminations Monday over 92 migrants who were found naked by Greek authorities at the two countries’ joint border, a day after the United Nations called for an investigation into the incident.
Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi tweeted a photo of the nude migrants, some with bodily damage, on Saturday, accusing Turkey of forcibly sending them to Greece and stripping them naked before doing so. The claim prompted Fahrettin Altun, the Turkish president’s director of communications, to accuse Athens of engaging in “fake news.”
On Monday, Turkey’s foreign minister again rejected the claim, accusing Athens of displaying “shameless and reckless” behavior. He also took aim at European Union nations, accusing them of encouraging EU member Greece to “slander” Turkey.
Meanwhile, the Greek government spokesman, Giannis Oikonomou, denounced that Ankara “continued to openly instrumentalize migrants and even with unprecedented and unthinkable barbaric practices.”
The exchange of accusations comes at a time when tensions between the two neighbors are high, when they also accuse each other of airspace violations and Turkey alleges that Greece intends to militarize the islands in the Aegean Sea in violation of international treaties and threatening possible military action.
“In order to appear correct, even when you are wrong like Greece, you must be shameless and reckless. Only Greece can achieve this,” Cavusoglu told a news conference at the end of a meeting in Istanbul of the foreign ministers of the Turkish states.
“It is natural that Greece … tries to smear Turkey when its crimes increase,” Cavusoglu added. “Unfortunately, there are member countries of the European Union who want to believe this, who want to accept as true everything that Greece says… This is what encourages Greece.”