‘The country that is exploiting the migration issue [to serve its interests] and is imperiling thousands of human lives, now goes as far as to even accuse Athens of crimes against humanity,’ the Greek FM said.
Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias today categorically denied Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s claim in an address to the UN General Assembly that Greece engages in pushbacks of refugees and migrants and accused Ankara of exploiting the issue as a tool against Greece.
Dismissing Erdogan’s claim that Ankara is a force for peace in the Aegean and the Eastern Mediterranean, Dendias stressed that Turkey is the country that is continually threatening Greece with war and occupying foreign countries, including the Republic of Cyprus.
Dendias noted that Turkey has historically trampled on the rights of Turkey’s Greek minority, and that the Muslim minority of Thrace enjoys the rights of all Greek citizens, with a population that has greatly grown, and is economically prosperous.
Minorities: Turkey’s 1955 pogrom, ethnic cleansing on Imroz
Due to the state-organised Turkish pogrom against the Greeks of Istanbul, that led them to flee the country en masse, in September, 1955, and expulsions of members of the Greek minority in the 1960’s and early 1970’s, the once prosperous Greek community that numbered over 100,000 has dwindled to fewer than 2,000 today.
The demographic development of the Muslim minority of Thrace, which has burgeoned over the decades, is exactly the opposite.
Moreover, the provisions in the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne offered autonomy to the ethnic Greek majorities on the Turkish islands of Imvros (now Imroz) and Tenedos (Bozcaada today) , but that was never enforced, and in the 1960’s the Turkish state in an organised plan expropriated the farmland of the mainly agricultural societies, closed the Greek schools, and created an open prison on the island of Imroz, essentially bringing about the ethnic cleansing of the Greeks on the islands.
“Turkey’s positions each time increasingly expand their logical leap. The country that is exploiting the migration issue [to serve its interests] and is imperiling thousands of human lives, now goes as far as to even accuse Athens of crimes against humanity, using false data that were refuted 10 days ago,” Dendias said.
Turkey’s threats of war
Dendias stressed Ankara’s continuing threats of war against Greece, which include recent repeated warnings by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other top officials and party leaders that the Turkish Army “might come one night” to land on and occupy a Greek island.
“The country that continually threatens war, the country that has issued a casus belli [that if Greece as is its right under international law extends its territorial waters in the Aegean from 6nm to 12nm, that would be cause for war], and the country that disputes Greek sovereignty over the Aegean islands, is now talking about good neighbourly relations. The country that occupies the territory of foreign countries, including that of the Republic of Cyprus, is now speaking about conditions of security and understanding in the Eastern Mediterranean,” the Greek foreign minister underlined.
“What we have to say is that Turkey would do well to respect international law and return as soon as possible to a position of logic.”