Turkey accuses UN human rights envoy of ‘collaborating with terrorist organizations’
Turkey has issued a strongly worded response to U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein after he penned a report calling on Ankara to immediately lift the state of emergency, accusing him of relegating “the U.N. body under his administration into a position of collaborating with terrorist organizations.”
“This person, who is the head of an international body bearing an unquestionable global importance, has unfortunately relegated the said U.N. body under his administration into a position of a collaborator of terrorist organizations. We condemn this situation. We are also saddened because of the damage inflicted on this universal organization,” read a written statement issued by the Turkish Foreign Ministry on March 20.
The report published by the U.N. Human Rights Commissioner’s Office on March 19 recommended that Turkey promptly ends its state of emergency, restore the normal functioning of its institutions, revise and repeal all legislation that is not compliant with Turkey’s international human rights obligations, including its state of emergency decrees. It also stressed the need to ensure independent, individualized reviews and compensation for victims of arbitrary detentions and dismissals.
“The said text has no meaning, as it completely ignores the severe and multiple terrorist threats faced by Turkey, particularly the effects on the protection of human rights of the [July 2016] coup attempt that targeted the survival of our country and the democratic life of our nation,” read the Turkish statement in response.
“As it has become obvious from his previous statements, the High Commissioner … has lost his objectivity and impartiality on issues concerning Turkey and he has developed prejudices against our country. The last text that he published contains unfounded allegations matching up perfectly with the propaganda efforts of terrorist organizations. This is an unacceptable situation,” it read.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry accused the high commissioner of not accepting invitations to visit Turkey and of not submitting any request to visit Turkey to prepare his latest text.
“He has prepared it in cooperation with terror-affiliated circles. His claim of having no access to Turkey is baseless,” it added.
“This text constitutes a danger for the whole human rights system due to the non-objective assessments it contains. Turkey maintains its determination to protect human rights, to promote standards to the most advanced levels, and to cooperate with international organizations including the U.N. in these matters,” it read.
The U.N. report - which covered the period from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2017 - warns that the state of emergency has facilitated the deterioration of human rights and the erosion of the rule of law in Turkey, and may “have long-lasting implications on the institutional and socio-economic fabric of Turkey.”