Turkey’s Foreign Ministry slammed the US State Department for a report on global terrorism for the year 2021, accusing Washington of “deliberately skewing” Ankara’s anti-terrorism efforts.
The US report cites the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as “a U.S. partner in the counter-ISIS campaign”, saying Turkey’s consideration of the SDF as a branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) “remained a significant point of friction” between the two countries.
Calling the SDF a partner “showcases that US authorities have yet to acknowledge that it is wrong to use a terrorist organisation to fight another terrorist organisation”, the Turkish ministry said.
The ministry also called the testimonies and news stories cited in the report “biased” and “hearsay”, and the fact that the report recognises civilian casualties in Turkey’s operations in Iraq and Syria “an oddity”. It urged the United States to “act in solidarity with our country, and put forth a principled, consistent, decisive and effective approach against terrorism”.
Turkish judiciary has proven that followers of Pennsylvania-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, called Fethullahist Terrorist Organisation (FETÖ) in Turkey, “constitute a terrorist organisation”, the ministry said, urging the United States to “end FETÖ presence and activity in its country at once”.
“FETO (the Gulen movement) is not a designated terrorist organization in the United States,” the report said, continuing to state that Turkey’s arrest of many, including Turkish citizens working at the US mission was “often based on scant evidence and minimal due process”.
The department also said Turkey continued “politically motivated” arrests under anti-terror laws.
Turkey “remains a transit point for (foreign terrorist fighters) departing Syria and Iraq”, the report also said. “Notably, Türkiye does not consider Hamas a terrorist organization; the U.S.-designated group maintains offices in Istanbul, and Hamas’ political chief, Ismail Haniyeh, has met with Turkish President Erdogan.”
The SDF has been the main boots on the ground during military operations against the Islamic State (ISIS) by a global coalition, led by the United States, and is not designated a terrorist organisation by any country involved in the anti-ISIS campaign except Turkey.