Turkey on Tuesday slammed as “biased” and “unacceptable” a U.N. report that described mass human rights abuses in the country under the state of emergency in place since the July 2016 failed coup.
In a furious reaction to the report, the Turkish foreign ministry accused the U.N. rights chief of turning his agency into an organisation that collaborates with “terror” groups.
“[The report], which contains distorted, biased and false information, is unacceptable for Turkey,” it said after the publication of the U.N. rights office report which covers all of 2017.
Turkey has been under a state of emergency since the July 2016 attempted coup and it was extended for a sixth time in January.
The report warned that the extraordinary powers given to authorities caused “a continued erosion of the rule of law and deterioration of the human rights situation.”
The U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein described the findings as “alarming”, “outrageous” and said the numbers were “staggering” in a statement.
He said almost 160,000 people had been detained during the 18-month emergency while adding that 152,000 civil servants had been dismissed “many totally arbitrarily.”
"Profound human rights violations against hundreds of thousands of people" in #Turkey include "use of torture and ill-treatment in custody", detention of pregnant women & new mothers separated from their babies – @UNHumanRights spox Ravina Shamdasani briefs press on new report pic.twitter.com/HhivWnE5yL
— UN Geneva (@UNGeneva) March 20, 2018
But the Turkish foreign ministry accused Mr. Hussein, a Jordanian, of harboring “prejudices against our country.”
#Türkiye, uzun süredir devam eden olağanüstü hali derhal sona erdirmeli ve mağdurlar için adalet sağlamalıdır. Olağanüstü halin rutin olarak uzatılması yüz binlerce insanın “haklarını ciddi ve keyfi bir şekilde engellemektedir.” https://t.co/6PhOxh3Eri pic.twitter.com/iBkfLNqPx5
— UN Human Rights (@UNHumanRights) March 20, 2018
The ministry even alleged that Mr. Hussein had “unfortunately transformed the U.N. body under his leadership into one which collaborates with terror organizations.”
“The U.N. rights chief… has prepared the report in cooperation with terror-linked circles,” the ministry added. “This text is a danger for the whole of the human rights system because of the evaluations it contains which are far from objective.”
Press Release Regarding the OHCHR Turkey Report published on 20 March 2018 https://t.co/hctOd73zUL
— Turkish MFA (@MFATurkey) March 20, 2018
The report also presented how torture and other forms of ill-treatment had been used against individuals in custody, listing severe beatings, threats of sexual assault and actual sexual assault, electric shocks and waterboarding.
But the ministry said the report contained “unfounded allegations” and “completely ignores the severe and multiple terrorist threats faced by Turkey.”
Mr. Hussein ignored multiple invitations to visit Turkey, the ministry claimed.
Turkey insists it is dealing with multiple terror threats including the movement led by the U.S.-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen who Ankara accuses of ordering the attempted putsch. Mr. Gulen denies the charges.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had repeatedly insisted that Turkey needs to remove the “virus” created by the Gulen movement’s infiltration of key Turkish bodies.
Turkish security and military personnel have also been fighting against outlawed Kurdish militants inside Turkey and in northern Syria.