Politics, World

Turkey refutes UN claims on rejecting visit demands

UN urged 'Turkish authorities to give independent investigators, including UN staff, unimpeded access' to southeastern regions

Turkey refutes UN claims on rejecting visit demands


A high Turkish official refuted Tuesday the UN High Human Rights Commissioner’s claims saying the Turkish government had not allowed UN teams to visit the country's southeastern regions.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, said Tuesday that he had received "a succession of alarming reports about violations allegedly committed by Turkish military and security forces in the southeast over the past few months", according to the UN website. 

The statement said Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein urged the "Turkish authorities to give independent investigators, including UN staff, unimpeded access to the area to verify the veracity of such reports".

“The Turkish Government has not responded positively to requests by my Office and other parts of the United Nations to visit the region to collect information first-hand,” Zeid said.

Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic replied hours later on Tuesday saying “it is not possible to accept” statements saying the Turkish government did respond positively for UN teams to visit the southeastern regions. “Our southeastern Anatolia region can easily be visited by the international organizations operating in the human rights field,” Bilgic said. 

He said that Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein’s statements were extremely inaccurate.

Bilgic said that Turkey’s anti-terror operation in the region aimed to defend citizens against terror organizations such as PKK or Daesh.

“We are pleased to welcome mister Zeid in our country, including the southeastern Anatolia region,” Bilgic said.

Turkey has been staging various anti-terror operations in its southeastern provinces.

PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU – resumed its 30-year armed campaign against the Turkish state in July 2015.

Since then, more than 430 members of the security forces, including troops, police officers, and village guards, have been martyred, and more than 3,800 PKK terrorists killed in operations across Turkey and northern Iraq.

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