Erdogan a “fearless” advocate for human rights, aide says
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s “fearless” promotion of human rights means international criticism cannot be taken seriously, the country’s communications director said on Thursday.
Earlier this week, the U.S. State Department published its 2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, which included significant criticism of Turkey.
The report highlighted arbitrary killings, suspicious deaths in custody, and forced disappearances in the country, while pointing to the “continued detention of tens of thousands of persons, including opposition politicians and former members of parliament, lawyers, journalists, human rights activists’’.
In response, Fahrettin Altun, head of media and communications for the Turkish presidency, said the U.S. report was baseless.
“Turkey made the greatest progress in human rights under Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) ruling,” Altun said.
“Turkish President Erdoğan was the only leader who raised his voice against human rights violations in our region and in the world,” he added.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry similarly denounced the U.S. report for “unfounded claims and biased commentary” which overlooked Ankara’s efforts in fighting terror.
The ministry accused the U.S. State Department of collaborating with members of the Gülen movement in preparing the document.
Turkey blames the Gülen movement and its religious leader Fethullah Gülen who lives in self-imposed exile in the U.S., for orchestrating the failed coup attempt in July 2016.