Turkey slams US report on religious freedom

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    Turkey slammed a U.S. report on international religious freedom Wednesday, describing its section on Turkey as “baseless claims”.

    In response to a question on the chapter on Turkey in the “International Religious Freedom Report for 2017”, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement that Turkey has viewed the report. He noted that the report was prepared in line with the U.S.’ “own perspective”.

    “Most parts of the text in connection with Turkey constitute a repetition of certain baseless claims already raised in previous years,” the statement said.

    “The citation of FETO/PDY as a terrorist organization only in reference to our government and the deficient allusion to the terrorist coup attempt of July 15th, 2016 and the damage inflicted on our country and our nation by the said terrorist organization are grave and serious flaws.”

    The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup on July 15, 2016 which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 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.

    “As we have reiterated on various occasions, it is certain that in Turkey, no individual is subjected to any legal or administrative action on grounds such as religion or ethnic origin,” the statement said.

    The statement said the report also includes “claims concerning certain demands of our Assyrian citizens related to immovable property issues", including cemetery and land properties.

    A March 2018 law “legally enabled the transfer of 56 pieces of immovable property from the General Directorate of Foundations to the Assyrian foundations”, the statement said.

    “With this step, Turkey has affirmed once again its constructive and open-minded attitude regarding freedom of worship and religion,” it added.

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