New energy is needed in ties with the U.S., the Turkish government has said during U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s first official visit to the capital Ankara, voicing hope for “concrete steps” particularly in the fight against jihadists in Syria and the extradition of Pennsylvania-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen. “It’s vital for us to give a new energy to the Turkey-U.S. relationship. Turkey and the U.S. have an important role to play regarding the challenges they face. Our area of responsibility is not limited to our respective regions, it is about all problems and opportunities across the world. That’s why the Turkey-U.S. friendship should be stronger than ever”, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told a joint press conference with Tillerson in Ankara on March 30.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said Saturday that the 2016 Human Rights report on Turkey, which was released Friday by the U.S. Department of State, included “unacceptable claims and inaccurate descriptions”. “It is noteworthy that the report does not mention at all the role of Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) in the July 15 coup attempt and the presence of FETO leaders in the U.S.”, a statement read. Led by U.S.-based FetullahGulen and his terrorist group FETO, last year’s failed coup left at least 248 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured. The report refers to the terrorist group as “the Gulen movement”. “The [Turkish] government ascribed responsibility for the attempt to the FethullahGulen movement, which it defined as a terrorist organization”, the report read. The Foreign Ministry also criticized the report’s description of the fight against PKK terrorist organization as “a conflict between the government and PKK members”, saying this description was “totally unacceptable”. “At a time when we are facing unprecedented terror threats against the existence of our state and nation, the inaccurate reflection of our reasonable fight against FETO, PKK, [far-left] DHKP-C, and Daeshhas left us deeply disappointed” the ministry said, adding the report was not based on objectivity. It added that Turkey would continue its fight against terrorism, and to work towards further enhancing fundamental rights and freedoms. Turkey has been fighting terrorist organizations on multiple fronts whether at home (FETO, PKK) or abroad, in Syria and Iraq (Daesh and PKK allies).