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Turkiye rejects 'unfounded' US human rights claims

In wake of annual report, Ankara calls on US to focus on its own human rights record, halt partnerships made with terror group affiliates

Merve Gül Aydoğan Ağlarcı   | 14.04.2022
Turkiye rejects 'unfounded' US human rights claims


Turkiye on Thursday "completely" rejected the US' annual human rights report, calling it "unfounded." 

A Foreign Ministry statement described the report, published by the US State Department on Tuesday, as "unfortunate" and said it contains "unfounded accusations."

Ankara "completely rejects" the report, said the ministry, adding that it regrets the US not acknowledging Turkiye's efforts against terrorism in all its forms especially against the terror groups YPG/PKK, Daesh/ISIS, Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), and the far-left DHKP-C.

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

On the report "widely covering the lies" of FETO, the group behind a coup attempt in Turkiye on July 15, 2016, the ministry said that "despite all the concrete evidence we have provided about this terrorist organization, the US continues to being instrumentalized for its propaganda."

FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 2016 in Turkiye, in which 251 people were killed and 2,734 injured.

The Turkish government 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.

It is also "unacceptable" that the report contains claims ignoring that the PKK is a terrorist organization and amounting to support for to the claims of terror-affiliated circles, the ministry stressed.

Turkiye "remains firm" on promoting and protecting human rights, it said, adding that concrete examples of this include the country's cooperation with international human rights mechanisms, along with a judicial reform strategy it enacted in 2019 and human rights action plan in 2021.

On March 2, 2021, Turkish 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 to protect vulnerable groups and enhance administrative and social awareness of human rights.

Turkiye further called on the US to focus on its own human rights record and halt the partnership that it made with affiliates of terrorist groups under the pretext of fighting terrorism.

The ministry said Turkiye intends to "continue its efforts to develop and protect the rights of its citizens as well as those of millions of persons it is hosting."

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