Turkey slammed a United States report on international religious freedom Wednesday, describing its section on Turkey as "baseless claims."
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement that the chapter on Turkey in the report, released Tuesday and titled "International Freedom Report for 2017," is a repetition of Washington's biases against Turkey written in previous reports.
"Most parts of the text in connection with Turkey constitute a repetition of certain baseless claims already raised in previous years," the statement said.
"The citation of [the Gülenist Terror Group] FETÖ as a terrorist organization only in reference to our government and the deficient allusion to the terrorist coup attempt of July 15, 2016 and the damage inflicted on our country and our nation by the said terrorist organization are grave and serious flaws," the statement added.
FETÖ and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gülen orchestrated the defeated coup on July 15, 2016 which left 250 people killed and nearly 2,200 injured.
In the section mentioning FETÖ, the report refers to Gülen as a "Turkish-Muslim scholar and leader of the Hizmet [service in English] [Gülen] Movement," while Ankara says Gülen has exploited people's religious sentiments to gain supporters.
Ankara also accuses FETÖ of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
"As we have reiterated on various occasions, it is certain that in Turkey no individual is subjected to any legal or administrative action on such grounds as religion or ethnic origin," the Foreign Ministry statement also added.
The statement said the report also includes "claims concerning certain demands of our Assyrian citizens related to immovable property issues," including cemetery and land properties.
A March 2018 law "legally enabled the transfer of 56 pieces of immovable property from the General Directorate of Foundations to Assyrian foundations," the statement said.
"Beginning in 2003 and especially since a 2011 governmental decree, more than 1,000 properties - valued at more than TL 2.5 billion [$554 million] - have been returned or compensation paid," the U.S. report says on properties of minorities, while it adds that the progressive processes are still ongoing.
"With this step, Turkey has affirmed once again its constructive and open-minded attitude regarding freedom of worship and religion," the Foreign Ministry statement added. The U.S. did not include the restrictions on religious freedom within its borders in the report, which includes 200 different countries.
Since President Donald Trump took office, there has been a significant rise in Islamophobic rhetoric and restrictions on Muslims. In his election campaign, Trump promised to ban Muslims from entering the country and once elected, he ordered visa restrictions on citizens of certain largely Muslim countries.
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