Turkey condemns UN Commissioner over human rights report

Turkey condemns UN Commissioner over human rights report

Turkey has accused a senior UN official of lacking impartiality and collaborating with terrorists over a new report that called on the country to end a state of emergency imposed after a 2016 failed coup attempt.

The UN report said that the state of emergency had led to "profound" human rights violations, paving the way for arbitrary detentions and dismissals, infringements on the rights of freedom of association and expression, and torture and ill-treatment.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said the state of emergency, which has been extended six times since it was imposed, has "been used to severely and arbitrarily curtail the human rights of a very large number of people".

Turkey responded harshly, accusing the commissioner of relegating "the UN body under his administration into a position of collaborator of terrorist organisations".

"The High Commissioner, who signed this text, has lost his objectivity and impartiality on the issues concerning Turkey, and has developed prejudices against our country," a Turkish foreign ministry statement said.

It also accused Mr Al Hussein of making a "baseless" claim about not being given "access" to Turkey, saying he had not accepted "multiple invitations" to visit the country.

Turkey has blamed the coup on a network of followers of US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen and launched a major crackdown on his supporters and others accused of links to terror groups.

Tens of thousands of people have been arrested and more than 110,000 dismissed from public sector jobs.

Mr Gulen has denied any involvement.

Turkey says the emergency powers are needed to deal with ongoing security threats.

The UN report recommended that Turkey "promptly end the state of emergency, restore the normal functioning of its institutions and repeal all legislation that is not compliant with Turkey's international human rights obligations".

The UN Human Rights Office said it recognises Turkey's challenges stemming from the coup attempt as well as extremist attacks.

The report said, however, that the emergency powers appeared to be used to "stifle any form of criticism or dissent vis-a-vis the government".

-PA

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