Far-right Greek Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Ioannis Lagos ripped the Turkish flag during the plenary debate on migrants, reports said Thursday.
Lagos, who previously served as a member of the Hellenic Parliament for the far-right Golden Dawn party between 2012 and 2019, criticized the statements during the plenary debate about the humanitarian situation on the Greek islands.
"We don't hear anybody talk about the situation of Greek citizens. Everybody talks about migrants. What about the rights of the Greek citizens?" Anadolu Agency (AA) quoted the infuriated MEP as saying.
He continued by claiming that 70% of Greek citizens are against illegal migration and that they are being attacked by the migrants.
"On the one hand, there is Turkey, which is doing whatever it wants to do," Lagos said, ripping a piece of paper with the Turkish flag printed on it. He said they need to put an end to the migrant flow.
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and the European Parliament's Turkey rapporteur Nacho Sanchez Amor condemned Lagos' act.
In a statement on his Twitter account, Çavuşoğlu called the far-right MEP a "spoiled, racist brat."
"These racist heads know best how we break the hands reaching our flag, and how we drive them to the sea," Çavuşoğlu said.
"Europe needs to say stop to Islamophobia and racism," Çavuşoğlu said, adding that Turkey expects the EP to take necessary action against Lagos, whom he referred to as a "clown."
Amor also criticized Lagos, saying that nothing justifies his action.
"Turkey is an EU candidate country. Our relations are not at their best in this very moment. But nothing justifies the regrettable action of tearing the flag in the European Parliament plenary," Amor said in response to Çavuşoğlu, adding that the far-right Islamophobic narrative is "not welcome in Brussels."
The Greek MEP's former party, the Golden Dawn, is considered a far-right, neo-Nazi and fascist organization.
The party emerged amid an economic crisis – when Greece suffered from a recession, unemployment and budget cuts – and obtained almost 7% of the votes in the general elections.
The party opposes migration, and its members are known to be behind anti-Muslim attacks in Greece.
Later in the day, European Parliament President David Sassoli launched an investigation into Lagos' action.
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