08-06-2021 09:17:04

“European democracies, like asylum seekers, are drowning at sea”

Party Spokesman Ömer Çelik spoke to reporters in the capital Ankara after a meeting of the AK Party's Central Executive Board.

The Party expects Europe to take concrete steps to prevent violence against asylum seekers, many of whom are drowning at sea, said a party spokesman on Monday.

"European democracies are sinking in the Mediterranean," Ömer Çelik told.

Referring to the high-tech sound bombs deployed by Greece to deter asylum seekers, Celik said these bombs are louder than an airplane flying close by, and that medical reports found that people who come into contact with them suffer injuries.

"Why is Greece doing this? So that no migrant comes to their border. They talk about protecting Europe's borders to legitimize this,” he said, adding: “And then you talk about European values.”

"While our president gives them information, documents, and videos about the Greek Coast Guard's actions in sinking the migrant boats, they still claim they do not know about it," he added, referring to evidence Turkey has given European Union bodies about the abuse and mistreatment at the border.

In March 2020, after Turkey stopped trying to block asylum seekers from reaching Greece’s border by land, Greek border guards wounded thousands of asylum seekers and killed several.

The harsh Greek reaction to the asylum seekers included blast bombs, rubber bullets and live ammunition, and tear gas.

Human rights groups have also documented hundreds of cases of asylum seekers being robbed, abused, and stripped by Greek forces along the land border, or being forcibly pushed back in boats along coastal borders, in cooperation with Frontex, the EU border agency.

“Netanyahu’s bad era”

Celik said they would not interfere in the internal affairs of another state, but that the era of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was a bad one.

"It is a bad period both for the two-state solution and for the more and more illegal settlements that the EU considers illegitimate, it was a bad period in terms of rising violence, an extremely ugly and bad period in terms of rising provocations, and the most recent disrespect towards Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem," he said.

Saying that all these acts of violence greatly damaged the future of everyone and prospects for peace, Celik said that the Netanyahu era was also a bad period in terms of corruption, instability, violence and sabotaging the two-state solution.

Referring to ongoing efforts by a coalition of Israeli parties to oust Netanyahu, Celik said they hope that whoever succeeds him will take a more prudent approach to all these issues, especially a two-state solution.