By Seda Sevencan and Gozde Bayar
ANKARA / ISTANBUL (AA) - Turkey on Friday rejected a new US State Department report on terrorism, saying it did not fairly evaluate Ankara's fight against terror groups.
In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said the Country Reports on Terrorism 2020, released on Thursday, undermines Turkey's fight against terrorist groups such as the PKK, DHKP-C, and Daesh/ISIS as well as its contributions to international counter-terror efforts.
On allegations in the report that Turkey's counter-terror efforts restricted rights and freedoms, the statement called them "baseless and unacceptable."
Turkey guards the thin line between security and freedom without differentiating between terror groups, it added.
The Syria section of the report, the statement said, mentions that terrorist PKK-affiliated groups are Turkey’s primary concern. This in itself is an admission that the Syrian-based terrorist YPG/PYD – which also uses the label SDF – and the PKK are two sides of the same coin, the ministry added.
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of at least 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.
The YPG – since 2015 often "rebranded" SDF – is the PKK’s Syrian terrorist wing.
The US is well aware that the YPG/SDF, which the US supports under the guise of fighting Daesh/ISIS, is under the control of the PKK, the ministry said.
Turkey has long objected to the US support for the YPG, ostensibly to fight Deash/ISIS, saying that using one terror group to fight another makes no sense.
“Thus,” the ministry continued, “it is unacceptable that terrorist attacks by PKK-affiliated groups targeting civilians, including hospitals, in Syria, resulting in the death of more than 120 innocent people in the last year, are not included in the report.”
The omission in the report of the terror group's release of (Daesh/ISIS) foreign fighters in return for a bribe is an effort to cover up the true intentions of the YPG/SDF, the statement said.
- ‘Biased’ treatment of FETO terrorist threat
Moreover, the report’s treatment of Turkey's legitimate fight against Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) is biased, failing to take into account the bloody 2016 coup bid it orchestrated and its history of criminal activities.
“It has been demonstrated with concrete evidence and judicial decisions that FETO is a ruthless terrorist organization and criminal network,” said the ministry statement.
“FETO is a threat not only to our country, but also to the security and stability of every country in which it is active. Our expectation from the US is to end the presence and activities of FETO in its country without further delay, not to provide shelter for FETO members, including the FETO ringleader, and to cooperate with Turkey in this field.”
Turkey has long pressed the US for the extradition of Fetullah Gulen, FETO’s ringleader and the organizer of the July 15, 2016 defeated coup, in which 251 people were killed and 2,734 injured.
Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
Turkey expects a consistent, determined and effective approach from the US and its allies in the fight against terrorism, the statement concluded.