Turkey slams US State Dept. report criticizing Ankara’s crackdown on Gülen movement

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US Department of State building.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Wednesday slammed the “2019 International Religious Freedom Report” published by the US State Department due to its criticism of Ankara’s crackdown targeting Gülen movement followers after a 2016 coup attempt.

“The mention of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) as ‘Sunni Muslims’ that face persecution in the report, reveals from the very beginning how biased and detached from reality it is and how it was drawn up under the influence of certain sources of evil,” the statement on the foreign ministry’s website reads.

Ankara accuses the movement of orchestrating the failed coup, although it strongly denies any involvement.

FETÖ is a derogatory term coined by the Turkish government designating the movement as a terrorist organization.

Turkey’s Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet), under the influence of the government, issued a declaration claiming that the faith-based Gülen movement has deviated from the “Sunni Islamic path.”

“It is a contradiction of the U.S. Government and Congress to criticize Turkey, when it has been unable to come to terms with the election of Muslim members to the House of Representatives, to demonstrate the will to fight against Islamophobia and to prevent the attacks against its own minorities,” the statement added.

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