In the ongoing dispute over Greek islands in the east of the Aegean, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused Greece of “unlawful and brazen pushbacks” in connection with the treatment of refugees. Greece is turning the Aegean into a “refugee cemetery,” Erdoğan told the UN General Assembly in New York. The Turkish head of state had also presented pictures of refugee children allegedly killed in the pushbacks to the General Assembly in New York as evidence of pushbacks.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias reacted promptly: “Turkey’s omissions go beyond the scope of what human reason can grasp,” he said. “Ankara is using fake facts that have been disproved for ten days,” countered Dendias. Turkey itself is instrumentalising the migrants.
Relations between Turkey and Greece have hit rock bottom. Turkey is questioning Greece’s sovereignty over islands in the Aegean against the background of stationing of the military in violation of international law. The most recent escalation is primarily about the Greek military presence in the East Aegean islands, some of which are only a few kilometers off the Turkish coast. Referring to the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, Ankara has long been calling for their demilitarization. However, Greece has already begun to militarily build up the Greek islands in the eastern Aegean. It was only in 2020 that the two states were on the verge of a military conflict. Now there is a risk of further escalation because Turkey is again looking for gas in the Aegean Sea.
In New York, Erdoğan again defended the much-criticized military action by Turkish forces in northern Iraq and northern Syria. He claimed his country was fighting “terrorists” there. Erdoğan has been flirting with a fourth invasion by the Turkish army in Syria for some time. For its part, the state of Syria regards the Turkish actions as a violation of Syrian sovereignty.
more on the subject – Turkey: Greece “willfully” violates the Treaty of Lausanne