Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is hurling insults at Greece because he has been enraged by recent difficulties and is losing his grip on the domestic front, said columnist Tom Ellis writing in Greek newspaper Kathimerini.
Ellis said that difficulties in Syria and Libya, being humiliated by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and seeing former allies such as Ahmet Davutoğlu and Ali Babacan launch their own parties had put in Erdoğan in a “frenzy” and caused him to angrily lash out.
Speaking to his party’s parliamentary party on Wednesday, Erdoğan showed photographs of the recent situation at the Greek-Turkish border and said that “there is no difference between what the Nazis did and what we’re seeing from the Greek border.” He also described the Greek authorities as fascists and barbarians.
“What is so outrageous is that such references are being made by the president of a country that continues to aspire to European Union membership while at the same time attempting to resurrect the Ottoman Empire,” said Ellis.
“But how much tolerance can the West continue to show for an authoritarian leader who not only jails thousands of his citizens – including journalists – but also feels free to make disparaging references and comparisons that insult the memory of the victims of the Holocaust?” asked Ellis.
Tensions have been high between Turkey and Greece after thousands of people began massing at Turkey’s border with Greece, following an announcement late last month by Turkish authorities that they would no longer stop migrants trying to get to Europe. Turkey accused Greece and the European Union of violating human rights and international law, after Greece suspended its asylum process and deployed violent measures against migrants on the border.
The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the Greek government was violating international law by holding migrants at a secret extrajudicial location before expelling them to Turkey without giving them the chance to claim asylum or speak to a lawyer.