Turkey will not take unfair critiques seriously: Altun

Biased criticism targeting both Turkey’s ongoing fight against terrorism and Ankara’s determination to provide security for its citizens “cannot be taken seriously,” Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said Thursday, underlining the country’s initiatives for human rights on the international platform.

Referring to the U.S. State Department’s latest human rights report, Altun said in a statement that human rights and dignity were universal values that his country “cherished and brought to the agenda” in all international forums.

He also recalled that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke “fearlessly” about unfair treatment and injustices globally and regularly called on world leaders to act, as well as, in recent years virtually being “the only voice against human rights abuses” in the region and around the world.

“He has taken it upon himself to mobilize the world against horrible crimes committed against civilians. While this is the case, the U.S. State Department’s annual human rights report poses unfair criticism against our country,” Altun said.

Turkey does not consider human rights a domestic policy matter but a universal one, and assessments on this front have to consider certain facts, he added.

Altun also underlined that Turkey made “the greatest progress in human rights” under the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) governments.

“In fact, we undertook a ‘silent revolution.’ We have had to adjust our laws and regulations along the way, and the latest example is our Justice Reform and Human Rights Action Plan.”

Turkey last month announced its new action plan on human rights, which has 11 main principles set to be carried out over the course of two years. The plan focuses on the topics of freedom, the right to security, the right to a fair trial, freedom of speech, as well as the rights of women and the disabled. The enhancement of these rights and liberties has seen setbacks in the bureaucracy that have prevented them from being implemented properly. The plan has been prepared in accordance with the observations and reports of international mechanisms that monitor human rights in cooperation with several human rights groups.

Altun went on to say that the assessments on Turkey’s human rights record are “meaningless” when they “do not properly address the long-standing terrorism threats” from several terrorist groups inside the country and along its borders.

“Unfair critiques of our struggle against terrorism and our government’s efforts to provide security for our citizens cannot be taken seriously. As a democratically elected government, it is our responsibility to protect our country’s unity and integrity and our people’s security,” he asserted.

He also reiterated that Turkey is conducting its fight against terrorist organizations such as the PKK, the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and the Daesh terrorist group while “mindful of the balance between security and the rights and freedoms” of its own people.

Altun emphasized that Turkey sees them as the “biggest obstacle before our freedoms” and expects its allies to help with the country’s struggle against terrorism, adding that his country has always “kept the door of political dialogue wide open” with the European Union as well as the U.S., and continues to do so.

“Our red line, however, is our people’s safety and security. We work hard to protect our freedoms and expect our partners and allies to act in good faith,” he concluded.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Wednesday also stated that the 2020 Turkey report on Human Rights Practices published recently by the U.S. State Department has once again been based on unaccredited claims and is far from objective, containing baseless allegations and biased comments.