QA-13, 10 May 2016, Statement of the Spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tanju Bilgiç, in Response to a Question Regarding the Statements of Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Regarding the Counter-Terrorism Operations in the South-Eastern Anatolia Region and the Visits of the UN Delegations

We are deeply saddened by the overly biased statements on Turkey by Mr. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, released on 10 May 2016.

While fighting the bloody attacks of terrorist organisations such as the PKK, DAESH and DHKP-C, Turkey also pays utmost attention to ensure the balance between freedom-security needs in its counter-terrorism operations conducted in the South-Eastern Anatolia so as to protect its citizens’ rights to life as the most fundamental right and to provide the public security. All measures are taken within the legal framework.

Being party to the main UN Conventions in the field of human rights, Turkey maintains its uninterrupted constructive cooperation with all UN mechanisms on human rights including treaty-based bodies and special procedures. In this context, Turkey submits its country reports to the relevant Committees in a timely fashion and pays attention to maintain interactive dialogue with all UN Committees. Most recently, on 26-27 April 2016, we presented our periodical report before the “Committee Against Torture”.

Having been one of the 116 countries offering an open invitation to the UN special procedures since 2001, Turkey cooperates closely with the thematic rapporteurs. In this context, Turkey has accepted all recent visit requests and necessary scheduling has been made for each one. Various UN Special Rapporteurs are envisaged to visit our country within the scope of relevant cooperation processes in the upcoming period.

The statement of Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, to the effect that the requests of the UN bodies to visit the South-eastern Anatolia Region have not met positive response is unacceptable. The international organizations operating in the field of human rights can easily visit the South-Eastern Anatolia Region. Recently, in March 2016, the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, and in April 2016, Nils Muižnieks, Commissioner for Human Rights of the the Council of Europe which is one of the main pillars of the European human rights regime, visited South-Eastern Anatolia and held some contacts.

We believe that the statements of Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, do not reflect the spirit of cooperation between Turkey and the UN in the field of human rights, and they are based on inadequate information and misguidance of prejudiced circles. We will be happy to host Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in our country for a visit covering also the South-Eastern Anatolia Region, if he so wishes.