Greece, as a whole, has turned into a U.S. military base,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Thursday, reported the Daily Sabah.
The Turkish leader was referring to United States’ various military installations in Greece’s Alexandroupoli.
He also accused Greece’s Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis of telling “lies” about migrant pushbacks and threatened to open the gates for migrants to storm into Greece.
Greece is condemning irregular migrants at sea to death, Erdoğan also added.
“We have all the proof showing their actions,” he said.
“It is Greece that is condemning them to death by puncturing the boats of migrants,” the president underlined.
“We have all the proof.”
“You can fool the world by accusing Turkey,” Erdoğan also said. “But you can’t fool us.”
Greece accused Turkey on Tuesday of acting like a “pirate” in waters between the two regional rivals, claiming that its coast guard escorted and tried to push into Greek waters a boat of migrants who were trying to reach Greece illegally.
Turkey, in turn, accuses Greece of illegal practices and pushing back asylum-seekers, saying it violates humanitarian values and international law by endangering the lives of vulnerable migrants, including women and children.
Mitsotakis denied that claim during a press conference Tuesday, arguing that his government follows a “tough but fair” migration policy.
Mitsotakis said authorities were “intercepting” boats at sea per European Union regulations and had granted asylum to 50,000 people, including “tens of thousands of Afghans.”
Turkey’s Erdogan has weaponised migration in the past to negotiate funds with Europe, particularly Germany to hold on to the refugees in Turkey.