President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan slammed the European Union's border protection agency Frontex for cooperating with Greece and turning a blind eye to the deaths of migrants.
Erdoğan told reporters in a news conference on Thursday before heading to Ukraine that Frontex is a useless EU organization that does nothing but provide assistance to Greece, which lets migrants die at sea and on the borders.
Erdoğan's criticism came a day after at least 12 irregular migrants were found frozen to death in northwestern Turkey after they were pushed back from neighboring Greece.
"The fact that they just stood by as 12 people died over there is hard to swallow," Erdoğan said, adding that the EU and the world remain silent.
The president noted that this was not the first time Greece did such a thing, as they have made it a habit to sink migrant boats and leave them to die.
"Then there is the Frontex that they made up, which is useless. They just stood by as 12 people froze to death," Erdoğan said.
He continued by saying that he will present all evidence, including video footage and photos proving Frontex and Greece's illegal acts against migrants, during meetings with all world leaders.
"We will continue to wage our struggle before the world," he added.
Frontex, which supervises the outside borders of the 27-nation European Union, is under pressure following a series of allegations involving the illegal pushbacks of migrants, notably in the Aegean Sea between Greece and Turkey. Charity groups and media outlets accuse Frontex of denying people their right to apply for asylum.
On paper, Frontex is legally held accountable by the 27 member countries and the European Parliament (EP).
Out on the sea or at land borders, though, Frontex operations are controlled by the country whose territory they take place in. In the Aegean, where many pushbacks have been reported, that means the Greek coast guard. This is where the lines of responsibility become muddy.
Pushbacks prevent asylum-seekers from making claims for protected status, and if practiced indiscriminately, can constitute a violation of core EU human rights laws and the 1951 Geneva Conventions.
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) in March stated that reports from 2020 recorded multiple incidents in which Greek coast guard personnel, sometimes accompanied by armed masked men, intercepted, attacked, disabled and pushed back boats carrying migrants.
The president also criticized the Council of Europe and said Turkey will not respect it as long as it does not respect Turkish courts.
"We expect others to respect our courts and those who do not respect them will not be respected," Erdoğan said.
The Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers passed a resolution on Wednesday to refer the case of businessperson Osman Kavala to the European Court of Human Rights.