US human rights report ‘false, biased,’ Turkey says

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 15.03.2019 00:11
Updated 15.03.2019 00:49
US human rights report ‘false, biased,’ Turkey says

Turkey's Foreign Ministry on Thursday slammed an annual U.S. human rights report as containing "false" and "biased" claims against Turkey.

Each year, the State Department submits to Congress a global human rights report on over 190 countries.

This year's report contains "false charges, inaccurate information and biased comments on Turkey," the foreign ministry said on Thursday.

The ministry criticized the report's reference to those behind the defeated July 15, 2016, coup attempt as "political prisoners," expressing "frustration" for the lack of respect given to Turkey's right under international law to ensure the safety of its country from terrorists – including Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), the PKK, Daesh and DHKP-C.

"We reject this approach," the ministry responded.

The ministry also denounced as "unacceptable" the accusation by the U.S. — whose own armed forces are responsible for thousands of civilian deaths around the world — that Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) was to blame for civilian deaths. The ministry pointed to TSK's upheld promise to prevent civilian casualties during Operation Olive Branch in northern Syria's Afrin.

The ministry slammed the accusations against Turkey as "ironic," given the U.S.' world-known record of human rights violations over the past year, specifically in regard to the persecution of migrants, including separation of children from their parents at the southern border.

"It is clear that this report, which is far from objectivity, is shaped according to political motives. The 2018 report undermines the credibility of the tradition of the annual human rights report, which claims to have served for decades as the U.S.' monitoring mechanism of human rights in the world," the ministry said.

"In the coming period, we will continue our fight against terrorism with the aim of protecting the human rights of our citizens. In doing so, we will continue our uninterrupted efforts to protect fundamental rights and freedoms and to further strengthen democracy and the rule of law," the ministry concluded.

FETÖ, led by the U.S.-based Fetullah Gülen, orchestrated the failed July 15 coup attempt in 2016, during which 251 civilians were killed, some 2,200 others were injured. Ankara also accuses FETÖ of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of the police, military and judiciary.

The United States has yet to respond to Turkey's repeated extradition requests for FETÖ's leader Gülen, who arrived in the U.S. in 1999, and currently resides in a luxurious retreat in Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania.

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