Turkey accuses Greece of turning the sea into a refugee graveyard

UNITED NATIONS (EFE).- The Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accused Greece on Tuesday in his speech at the 76th United Nations General Assembly of turning the sea into a “refugee cemetery” through the so-called hot returns and sinking immigrant boats.

“The crisis of refugees seeking a better future is not resolved by sinking boats of innocent people and leaving them to die, or by building walls on the borders or putting people in camps,” said the conservative Islamist president.

“Now we see Greece’s increasing oppression of migrants in the Aegean Sea and the eastern Mediterranean. While in Turkey we see new bodies of babies like Aylan’s on the beaches, Greece, with its brutal push-backs, turns the Aegean into a cemetery,” thundered the Turkish president.

To underline the reference to the Syrian child drowned in 2015, Erdogan showed the Assembly a photograph of two children, one nine months old and the other four years old, who, he said, died last week after Greek coastguards sank the boats in the who traveled with their families.

“It is high time that Europe and the United Nations put an end to these ruthless acts that constitute a crime against humanity,” the Turkish president said.

He also showed a photograph of the prefabricated houses that Turkey is building in the areas under its control in northern Syria to encourage the return of one million Syrians out of the 3.7 million currently living in Turkey, and asked for the support of the community. international for this project.

In a review of Turkish foreign policy, Erdogan highlighted his country’s mediating role in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, especially when negotiating the grain export agreement, which he praised as “one of the UN’s greatest successes in the last years”.

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He also reiterated his support for Azerbaijan in the reconciliation process with Armenia, which, he considered, has a “historical window of opportunity”.

In addition, he expressed the hope of completing the nuclear agreement with Iran as soon as possible and highlighted “possible hopeful advances” in Afghanistan.

Erdogan concluded his speech by recalling the need to recognize Palestine as an independent state and invited his audience to also consider the international recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

The northern part of that island, also inhabited by Greek Cypriots, was occupied by Turkey in 1974 and the declared state there is only recognized by Ankara until now.