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Turkey slams US international religious freedom report

Turkey Slams US International Religious Freedom Report

ANKARA – Turkey on Thursday criticized the 2019 Report on International Religious Freedom of the United States Department of State as “written in language far from objectivity.”
Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Hami Aksoy said in a statement that the content of the report on Turkey included “claims without sources.”
“Without any discrimination, Turkey continues to support its objectives in the protection and development of the freedoms of religion and worship for all our citizens through concrete steps. The different religions and beliefs live in peace and harmony in our country,” said Aksoy.
Stressing that in the past 20 years, Turkey had taken significant steps to improve the rights and freedoms of non-Muslims, Aksoy said that the country had introduced legislation and governance practices so that all citizens enjoy the same rights and to prevent all the means of discrimination as part of their efforts to promote democracy.
Referring to the report’s stance on discussions to turn Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia and Chora museums into mosques, Aksoy said: “Hagia Sophia and Chora are owned by the Republic of Turkey and all means of authority [in museums] are a Turkey issue.”
“The decisions made or to be made regarding these sites are not a concern of other countries,” he added.
Aksoy further stressed that all cultural and religious properties in Turkey were well protected.
Citing the rise in Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia in the United States, Aksoy said it was “tragicomic” for Washington to use those reports to divert world attention from widespread protests in the country.
Aksoy also rejected “all the inconsistencies and intentional but baseless statements in the report” and asked the US that they focus on their internal affairs on religious freedoms and human rights.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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