Erdogan: ‘No Difference’ Between Greek Border Guards and the Nazis

ANKARA, TURKEY - APRIL 17: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gives a referendum victory speech to his supporters at the Presidential Palace on April 17, 2017 in Ankara Turkey. Erdogan declared victory in Sunday's historic referendum that will grant sweeping powers to the presidency, hailing the result as a "historic decision. …
Elif Sogut/Getty Images

President Erdogan of Turkey said that there is “no difference” between Greek forces trying to protect the nation’s border and the Nazis.

The Islamist leader ramped up the rhetoric in the ongoing dispute with Turkey and the European Union as tens of thousands of asylum seekers attempt to flood into the bloc through the Greek border. Mr Erdogan accused Greek forces of acting like “barbarians” and “fascists”.

“There is no difference between what the Nazis did and the images we are seeing from the Greek border,” Erdogan said of Greek border guards using tear gas to prevent migrants storming through border barriers, according to the Greek newspaper Kathimerini.

The slur against Greece is notable, as some 300,000 people were killed during the 1941 Nazi occupation of the country, which near-wiped out Greece’s Jewish population.

The comments from Mr Erdogan came in the wake of a heated summit in Brussels, in which the Islamist leader walked out of a meeting with the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel after the two sides failed to come to an agreement on the terms of the 2016 deal on migration.

Under the terms of the deal, the EU agreed to send €6 billion in aid to Turkey in exchange for Mr Erdogan keeping the migrant crisis at bay.

Turkish president demanded that the European Union grant visa-free travel for Turkish citizens and send more money, claiming that the estimated 3.6 million asylum seekers have cost the Turkish government €40 billion.

“We will continue the current [open borders] measure on our borders until all of our expectations are concretely met,” Erdogan said per the Associated Press.

Turkey has amassed some 1,000 special forces to the Greek border, to prevent migrants from returning to Turkey after being stopped by Greek forces, The Times reports. Greece estimates that it has stopped 42,000 migrants from illegally entering the country since Mr Erdogan “opened the gates” to migration in February.

Mr Erdogan has called for another summit on the migrant crisis to be held in Istanbul next week, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Macron, and possibly British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

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