No: 226, 16 September 2023, Press Release Regarding the Relevant Section of the US Trafficking in Persons Report on Türkiye

Republic Of Türkiye Ministry Of Foreign Affairs 16.09.2023

It is regrettable that Türkiye’s significant efforts to prevent human trafficking have been disregarded by placing her in the list of child soldier recruiting states under the "Child Soldiers Prevention Act” through an update of the 2023 U.S. State Department Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report.

Türkiye is making every effort to prevent the crime of human trafficking, punish offenders and protect victims of the crime while maintaining its activities in an uninterrupted manner towards further strengthening bilateral, regional and international cooperation to this end.

On the other hand, the issue of human rights is once again being politicized in the said report. We categorically reject all allegations of children recruitment attributed to our country who is party to all international documents on the protection of children's rights including those adopted within the framework of the United Nations and meticulously implements them.

Before attempting such a defamation against Türkiye, it would be anticipated from the U.S., who provides military and financial support to the PKK/YPG terrorist organization, which forcibly recruits children for terrorist activities in Syria and Iraq, to face its own reality. This case also raises serious questions about the objectivity of the information sources on which the US authorities base their decisions. This slander, which does not bode well with the spirit of alliance, will be duly responded.

Numerous serious crimes committed by the so-called "Syrian Democratic Forces" under the control of the terrorist organization PKK/YPG, such as forcibly recruiting children, abduction, deprivation of liberty and military use of schools in Syria were lately documented in the report disseminated by the UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria on 12 September 2023. Moreover, the most recent example of this terrorist organization's repressive practices and crime has been witnessed in Deir ez-Zor.

Likewise, U.S. State Department's 2022 International Religious Freedom Report on Iraq, by specifically referring to the Yezidi community in Sinjar, explicitly states that the PKK forcibly recruits hundreds of Yezidi children and abducts them for ideological indoctrination purposes. On this occasion, we would like to remind that scrutinizing oppressive practices and serious crimes of the separatist terrorist organization is among the fundamental responsibilities of the US.

As a party committed to relevant regional and international conventions, Türkiye will resolutely perpetuate its efforts hitherto aimed at preventing the crime of human trafficking.

Atatürk

Emir Salim Yüksel Ambassador
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