Turkey has rejected allegations of rights abuse made by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, criticizing him for the unacceptable remarks.
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic said in a statement on Saturday that Ankara has respected the rights of people in the crackdown on officials suspected of being involved in the abortive coup of July 15.
Zeid Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein, the UN human rights chief, has called on the Turkish government to uphold the rights of detainees under arrest since mid-July, saying Ankara should stem its “thirst for revenge.”
“What we need to put across is that the thirst for revenge... be reined in and that proper procedures and guarantees of the pursuit of due process are upheld in respect of all these Turkish citizens not withstanding that some are believed to have turned against the authorities,” Zeid stated on August 10.
Bilgic said Turkey’s measures following the coup have been consistent with the rule of law and the fundamental principles of human rights.
“It is at best an unfortunate statement for a UN official tasked with guarding human rights to say 'he has no sympathy' for coup plotters,” he said, adding that Zeid should have instead condemned “the terrorists who have attempted a bloody coup.”
Bilgic again called on the UN rights chief to pay a visit to Turkey to be informed of the way Turkey deals with those deemed to have played a role in the coup attempt.
Turkey has arrested more than 18,000 people and dismissed or suspended over 60,000 from their positions over links to the US-based Turkish cleric and opponent of the government Fethullah Gulen. Ankara accuses the preacher of being behind the putsch. Gulen, however, rejects the accusation.
Turkey’s allies in the West have criticized Ankara for the massive purge, expressing concern that the crackdown is used to consolidate the government’s grip on power.