Press Statement on the USA's 2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices Insofar as It Concerns Turkey

It has been considered beneficial to make the following statement upon the groundless allegations concerning Turkey in the USA’s 2017 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.

In addition to the factual errors it contains, the report, which has been observed to have exceeded the limits of goodwill and diplomatic courtesy on account of the language and tone used in the criticisms towards Turkey, is filled with suspicious information, ill-founded allegations, one-sided comments and subjective assessments.

The only issue that was noted as praiseworthy is the high self-confidence displayed by the State that drafted the report in evaluating and criticizing other countries in the field of human rights without paying attention to its own poor and lengthy record in this field.

It is regarded as a conduct pushing the limits of irony that a State, whose unlawful and inhumane practices employed on the basis of its doctrine of combat against terrorism, grave violations of rights in the Guantanamo concentration camps evaded from the domestic justice system, increasing hate crimes against certain religious and ethnic groups -particularly the Muslims-, prison practices in complete disregard of the international standards, and institutionalized widespread police violence are documented and witnessed by the entire world, dares to evaluate Turkey with respect to human rights and freedoms.

Turkey continues its concurrent fight against terrorist organizations such as the PKK, PYD/YPG, FETÖ, DAESH, which pose a threat to its territorial integrity, sovereignty rights and safety of its citizens, within the limits of law and in compliance with its national legislation as well as its international obligations.

Contrary to the addressee State, Turkey does not have any political selectiveness in its fight against terrorism which it perceives as the main enemy of the order of human rights and freedoms. The provision of firearms, ammunition and logistic support by the addressee State to the branches of a terrorist organization in Syria will always be remembered as a violation of the international law. This support provided to the terrorist organizations at the risk of being used against a sovereign country which is also a NATO ally has gained its place in the addressee State’s lengthy human rights record.

The facts that the addressee State continues to harbor in its territory the perpetrators and instigators of the coup attempt of 15th July in Turkey and that it leaves Turkey’s persistent requests for extradition of the ringleader and members of the FETÖ terrorist organization unanswered have also been noted as fine examples of the addressee State’s sincerity and consistency in its fight against terrorism.

While resolutely continuing its fight against terrorism even beyond its borders, Turkey did not turn a blind eye on the humanitarian plights in its region and opened its doors to millions of refugees without regard to their language, religion or ethnic origin. It has never been on Turkey’s agenda to build a wall of shame on its southern border to stop people escaping from a great disaster and seeking refuge in Turkey.

It is considered that it would be more beneficial to the addressee State, which was quite ‘generous’ as far as its criticism towards Turkey was concerned, to review its own laws and practices which contradict with international instruments and human rights law in fields such as immigration and national security, and to allocate its precious time to its own vulnerable citizen groups (immigrants, Muslims, minorities, children and the poor).

Turkey's detention centers and penitentiary institutions are open to visits and inspections from national judicial authorities, the administrative authorities, non-governmental organizations, the legislative assembly as well as the international mechanisms established under the Council of Europe and the UN.

In addition to the institutional mechanisms within its domestic law, Turkey is under the supervision of the European Court of Human Rights to which it granted international jurisdiction over individual applications to the European Court of Human Rights with the aim of protecting fundamental rights and freedoms.

In view of the fact that its penitentiary institutions which hold the most crowded convict and detainee population in the world are still not open to international supervision within the context of human rights and freedoms, it would be to the benefit of the addressee State to take a lesson from Turkey’s experience in this field.

It is still appreciated that the State which prepared the report seems to have adopted the objective of protecting and developing human rights and freedoms in the highest norms and standards throughout the world.

In order to reach this objective;

Looking back on its own record and putting an end to its systemic violations and unlawful practices,

Leaving aside its political selectiveness in the fight against terrorism which is the biggest threat to human rights and freedoms, and showing the solidarity expected of it in accordance with its international obligations,

Abstaining from being a safe haven to members of the FETÖ terrorist organization and a supplier to the PKK/PYD terrorist organizations,

would prove to be a meaningful starting point.  

Respectfully announced to the public.