BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:00 P.M.) – On Friday, April 3rd, the foreign ministers of the NATO nations held a teleconference to discuss the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and their contingencies; however, the meeting would apparently turn sour when Greece and Turkey traded accusations over Ankara’s decision to open their European border to migrants, the Russian newspaper Gazeta.RU reported.
According to the publication, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu left the virtual meeting earlier than all the other participants after disputes with Greece over migrants.
The diplomat recalled that an agreement was concluded between Ankara and the European Union in 2016, which obliged Turkey to accept about four million refugees from Syria and other countries of the Middle East, and not allow them to go to Europe.
In exchange for this, the EU promised to provide Turkey with assistance in the amount of €6 billion and provide other incentives, such as a visa-free regime for Turkish citizens. Cavusoglu stressed that the EU has not fulfilled its part of the deal.
“We advise them to think about the long term, because it is not just a matter of migration,” he said, demanding from Europe liberalization of the visa regime, updating the agreement on the customs union and strengthening the fight against terrorism.
Not long after this, Cavusoglu accused Greece of killing migrants trying to cross the common border of countries.
In response, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said that Ankara’s claims are specially organized propaganda for political purposes and have fake news.
“Greece faced an organized and unprecedented attack on its border and a disinformation campaign from Turkey. The methods used by Turkey violated the values of NATO. All allies have the right to call for NATO solidarity, but only if they fulfill their obligations, ”the Greek diplomat emphasized, as quoted by Gazeta.RU.
Cavusoglu demanded to give him the opportunity to answer, but NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stopped this attempt, so as not to contribute to inciting scandal online.
The Turkish Foreign Minister, in response, disconnected from the conference.
Turkish and Greek relations are at a decade-long low, as disagreements over the movement of migrants and Ankara’s oil exploration off the coast of Cyprus has put the two countries at odds.