Turkey would never accept the accusations in a U.S. report on trafficking in persons, a party spokesman said on July 7.
“The U.S.’s accusation against Turkey in its Trafficking in Persons Report is an approach that we will never accept,” Ömer Çelik, the spokesperson for the Justice and Development Party (AKP), told reporters at the party’s headquarters while a meeting of its Central Decision and Executive Board was taking place in the capital Ankara.
The recent report by the U.S. State Department listed Turkey among countries allegedly using child soldiers in armed conflicts and received a backlash from Ankara.
On Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also strongly criticized the “unfounded” assumptions regarding the country in the report.
“Turkey has never used elements called ‘child soldiers’ or ‘child terrorists.’ I openly and unequivocally claim that the Republic of Turkey has the cleanest record in this regard in the world,” Çelik said.
Highlighting Turkey’s anti-terror efforts, Çelik said making such accusations against Turkey can only be based on a “lack of information or bad intentions.”
He said Ankara carries out the most decisive fight against “the issue called child terrorists, child fighters.”
Some non-governmental organizations’ works are used in such reports, he said, noting that Ankara knows their links very well.
“We know most of them [NGOs] from Afghanistan,” he said, adding those groups were then active in Syria and Iraq.
The accusations against Turkey despite its constant warnings about the recruitment of children is “a great imprudence, ignorance and a huge lie,” Çelik stressed.
“Everyone clearly knows that the YPG/PKK terrorist organization is the one that uses children as fighters and terrorists, and the ISIL terrorist organization is also one of them,” he said, adding the YPG/PKK was not even mentioned in the same report which accuses Turkey.
In its more than 35-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union – has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the PKK’s Syrian offshoot.
Turkey only NATO army fighting ISIL on ground
Çelik also refuted recent remarks by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias that Turkey did not contribute to the fight against the ISIL terror group.
“The Greek foreign minister is lying that Turkey does not support the fight against ISIL,” Çelik said, adding he is lying on purpose, as there is no lack of information.
“The Republic of Turkey is the only NATO army that fights against ISIL on the ground,” he said.
Çelik said some countries help the YPG/PKK terror group under the pretext of fighting ISIL and asked Athens where it stands in the fight against ISIL.
He emphasized that Ankara also serves as the co-leader of the Foreign Terrorist Fighters Working Group against ISIL.
In 2013, Turkey became one of the first countries to declare ISIL a terrorist group.
The country has since been attacked by the terror group multiple times, with over 300 people killed and hundreds more injured in at least 10 suicide bombings, seven bomb attacks and four armed assaults.
In response, Turkey launched anti-terror operations at home and abroad to prevent further attacks.
Hurriyet Daily News