Turkey calls on EU to abide by Human Rights Declaration

ANKARA (AA): Turkish president called on Greece and other EU countries to comply with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the Syrian refugee issue.

“We call on, notably, Greece and all EU countries to respectfully treat the refugees, which came to their territories, in line with Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at his party’s parliamentary group meeting in the capital Ankara.

Erdogan slammed Greece by showing a photo displaying the help extended to the Greek people who fled Nazi attacks and took refuge in Syria during the World War II.

“One of the Greek boys or girls in this photo is maybe the grandparent of [Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos] Mitsotakis,” Erdogan said.

“A Greek, who tries every way possible to not accept refugees in its country […] should not forget that one day he could need that compassion,” he added.

Last week, Turkish officials announced that they would no longer try to stop irregular migrants reaching Europe.

Since then, thousands of irregular migrants flocked to Edirne to make their way into Europe.

Ankara has repeatedly complained that Europe has failed to keep its promises under the 2016 migration deal with Turkey to help migrants and stem further migrant waves.

Turkey, which already hosts some 3.7 million Syrian migrants, more than any country in the world, says it cannot absorb another refugee wave.

The decision was made after 34 Turkish soldiers were martyred by the regime forces in Idlib, northwestern Syrian late February.

The Turkish soldiers are working to protect local civilians under a 2018 deal with Russia, which prohibits acts of aggression in the region.

Erdogan said that Turkey would not leave its territory to the mercy of terror groups or the blood-stained hands of the Syrian regime, nor would it abandon the oppressed Syrians alone.

“With our latest operation [Spring Shield], I believe we have demonstrated once again that we are a country that knows how to fight but one that does not want to fight,” he said, referring to the fresh Syria operation announced on Sunday.

Responding to reporters’ questions, Erdogan said his expectation from Thursday’s visit to Moscow was to ensure an immediate cease-fire in Idlib.

The president further said he had conveyed Turkey’s demand for weapons to U.S. President Donald Trump.