No: 55, 14 March 2019, Press Release Regarding Turkey 2018 Human Rights Report of the U.S. Department of State

Protection and promotion of human rights are among our country’s indispensable priorities. Our efforts to safeguard the fundamental freedoms of both our citizens and millions of people in all corners of the world, and to prevent the human rights violations they face, is the greatest proof to this.

The US Department of State’s Turkey 2018 Human Rights Report, published on 13 March 2019, which is one of the customary documents that is submitted to the US Congress on over 190 countries every year, contains unfounded allegations, dubious information and biased interpretations, as it did in previous years.

We observe with disappointment that in this year’s report, the US once again failed to recognize our country’s rightful fight against brutal terrorist organizations, in particular, PKK, FETO, DAESH, and DHKP-C. The report has not refrained from portraying our counter-terrorism efforts to ensure national and regional security, executed in full compliance with international law and human rights as human rights violations. We strongly reject this approach.

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.

It is absolutely unacceptable for those responsible of thousands of civilian casualties in the course of operations across the world, to accuse the Turkish Armed Forces, which have gained even the appreciation of the people of the region that they liberated without harm to any civilians during the Operation Olive Branch, of civilian casualties.

The ironic accusations towards Turkey by a country whose dark history in human rights is known by the entire world and whose mistreatment of migrants including children has been widely reported even in the past year, is frivolous, to say the least.

The report’s omission of steps taken in the past year following the termination of the state of emergency, towards the reforms in the areas of judiciary and fundamental rights, which have been confirmed at the meetings of the Reform Action Group, cannot be considered to be in good faith.

It is clear that this report, which is far from being objective, has been shaped by political incentives of the US. Turkey 2018 Report, as such, is damaging to the credibility of its decades-old tradition of annual country reports on human rights practices, which it claims to serve as a mechanism to monitor globally the situation of human rights.

We will continue our fight against terrorism, as before, with the first and foremost aim of protecting our citizens’ human rights; and we will maintain our continuous efforts to preserve and strengthen, in accordance with democracy and the rule of law, the fundamental rights and freedoms.