Turkey blasts ‘unfounded’ US human rights claims

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ANKARA

Turkey on Wednesday strongly criticized the Turkey section of the US’ annual human rights report, calling it “unfounded” and “far from being objective.”

The report’s coverage of Turkey “is yet again far from being objective and contains unfounded allegations and biased interpretations based on ambiguous sources,” said a Foreign Ministry statement on the report, published by the US State Department on Tuesday.

On the report again referring to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) as the “Gulen movement,” the ministry said: “This demonstrates that the U.S. still fails to understand our rightful fight against this terrorist organization, disregards the concrete evidence we have provided about this terrorist organization and is being instrumentalized once again by certain circles while drafting the report.”

FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and 2,734 injured.

Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

Turkey has long sought the US extradition of FETO ringleader Gulen.

Whitewashing terrorist YPG/PKK

Turkey also lambasted the report’s claims on the country’s counter-terrorism operations in Syria, near the Turkish border, calling them “unacceptable.”

“There can be no explanation for repeating such allegations, despite the fact that they were previously rejected by Turkish authorities on various occasions,” added the statement.

It is “worth noting” that while various violations of the PKK/YPG are mentioned in the report, its terrorist attacks on Syrians as well as separatist actions aimed at undermining the territorial integrity of Syria were disregarded.

“It is also unacceptable that the report contains allegations which ignore the fact that PKK is a terrorist organization and amount to extending support to the claims of terror-affiliated circles,” it added, referring to the YPG’s status as the Syrian branch of the terrorist PKK.

Since 2016, Turkey has launched a trio of successful anti-terror operations across its border in northern Syria to prevent the formation of a terror corridor and enable the peaceful settlement of residents: Euphrates Shield (2016), Olive Branch (2018), and Peace Spring (2019).

In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.

Human Rights Action Plan

The Foreign Ministry stressed that Turkey “remains firm” on promoting and protecting human rights, adding: “Two years after the publication of the Judicial Reform Strategy, the recently announced Human Rights Action Plan is a concrete example of this resolve.”

“On the basis of democracy and the rule of law, Turkey will continue its efforts to promote and protect the rights of its citizens as well as those of millions of persons it is hosting,” it said.

On March 2, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced the human rights plan, unveiling 11 main principles set to be carried out over the course of two years.

It is designed as a “broad-based” plan to strengthen rights protections, individual freedoms and security, judicial independence, personal privacy, transparency, and property rights, as well as protect vulnerable groups and enhance administrative and social awareness of human rights.

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