The Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Friday announced that an investigation has been launched into a Greek member of the European Parliament for tearing up a paper Turkish flag in parliament, the Turkish media reported.
“Our judicial officials have started a proceeding against Ioannis Lagos,” Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül tweeted late Thursday, stating that “insulting Turkish values” was a criminal act punishable by one to three years in jail.
Lagos, formerly a member of the far-right Golden Dawn party in Greece, angrily ripped up a paper depiction of the Turkish flag in Thursday’s session at the European Parliament addressing a recently increasing migrant influx from Turkey to Greece.
Athens also denounced the MEP’s “unacceptable” actions.
“Greece condemns in the most categorical way any act that insults a national symbol, in this case the national symbol of Turkey,” the Greek foreign ministry said.
“The unacceptable actions of the representatives of neo-Nazism are outside Greek and European tradition,” it added.
“Neo-Nazis represent only themselves.”
“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 @Europarl_EN plenary. The usual extreme right islamophobic narrative is not welcome in Brussels,” Nacho Sanchez Amor, the EP’s Turkey rapporteur, tweeted.
Turkish nationalists have responded to the incident with anger on social media as government officials condemned it with statements.