Ankara Slams US Report on ‘Political Prisoners’ in Turkey as Biased

The US Department of State’s recently published annual human rights report contains biased allegations and serves to elevate the perception of the people who attempted to topple the government three years ago, the Turkish Foreign Ministry stated in its press release.

“The report, which contains the views of those, describing supporters of terrorist organizations and circles behind the 15 July terrorist coup attempt as ‘political prisoners,’ is clearly biased. Prepared by the country that shelters the head of FETO, the report strengthens the perception regarding the identity of those behind the 15 July terrorist coup attempt against our country. We condemn this characterization that serves no other purpose than politicizing human rights and thereby impairing the efforts towards the promotion of human rights principles,” the ministry said in a Thursday statement.

According to the press release, the United States failed to recognize Turkey’s efforts in fighting against what it sees as terrorist organizations. Moreover, the ministry said Washington, which was responsible for “thousands of civilian casualties in the course of operations across the world,” had no right to accuse the Turkish military of killing civilians, the document stressed.

The mentioned report was published on March 13 and mainly accused Turkey of violating democratic standards and fundamental freedoms while describing the arrested members of what Turkey calls Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group Ankara has implicated in the attempted coup of July 2016, as “political prisoners.”

FETO is an organization run by followers of Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen, who himself has been living in the United States since 1999. Gulen has condemned the coup and denied the accusations. The short-lived rebellion has resulted in over 50,000 people being arrested and more than 160,000 civil servants, including military personnel, being dismissed or suspended.

Human rights reports on over 190 countries besides Turkey are submitted to the US Congress every year. They are supposed to cover internationally recognized individual, civil, political and worker rights, as set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international agreements.