Turkish Interior Minister Soylu slams Washington over gay marriage

Turkey’s Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu spoke against LGBT rights in the United States in a meeting of local associations in Istanbul, daily Cumhuriyet reported on Sunday.

“(United States) wants men to marry men, women to marry women everywhere on earth. You do it, you become like the tribe of Lut, you congregate,” Soylu said.

The minister condemned Washington for saying Turkey was too harsh on groups it deems terrorist.

“They say we are brutal against FETÖ and PKK,” Soylu said, referring to followers of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, who Turkey holds responsible for a coup attempt in 2016, and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, an armed group that has fought for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey for some four decades.

“They call these political prisoners, so we supposedly arrested them over politics. If that was not enough, they say the Interior Ministry has treated PKK and FETÖ with violence,” Soylu continued.

“They say we do not condone (gay marriage). That we do not tolerate FETÖ, PKK, or LGBT. Turkey has peace and this peace disturbs them,” the minister said.

The U.S. State Department’s 2021 Country Report on Human Rights Practices for Turkey mentions “credible allegations that the government contributed to civilian deaths in connection with its fight against the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) organization in the southeast” and says that in some cases related to followers of Gülen Turkish courts “applied the law unevenly”.

“The government did not consider those in custody for alleged PKK or Gulen movement ties to be political prisoners and did not permit access to them by human rights or humanitarian organizations,” the report also said.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the report was “unfortunate” and that it included “unfounded allegations about our country”.

The United States “continues to be instrumental in the propaganda of this terrorist organization which it turns a blind eye on, despite all concrete evidence we have provided”, the ministry said regarding the Gülen movement.

“We invite the U.S. to focus on its own record in the field of human rights and put an end to its partnership with the extensions of terrorist groups under the guise of counter-terrorism,” the ministry said.

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