Erdogan Says Human Rights Report Never Disclosed to the Prime Ministry

ISTANBUL (Combined Sources)–Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a minority report released by the Human Rights Advisory Board had been drafted without instructions from him.

"It was unethical to disclose the report to the press before informing us–that is–the Prime Ministry," Erdogan said.

The report broadened the definition of minorities in Turkey and criticized the government’s policy towards minorities–which has drawn criticism from various circles.

Erdogan responded to questions at a press conference in the Black Sea province of Rize on Saturday.

He emphasized that the minority report should have been submitted to the prime minister or the deputy prime minister before it was released to the press.

"After the public debate–the report was again discussed by the board and amended. Later it was sent to the Prime Ministry. This [sequence of events] is ethically wrong," said Erdogan.

Asked about criticism alleging that he had signed the European Union Constitution in Rome on Oct. 29 without reading it–Erdogan said those who released such news were not aware of the content of the constitution and how it was drafted.

Drawing attention to the fact that the Inter-parliamentary Conference had drafted the constitution–Erdogan said: "Turkey participated in studies on the drafting of the constitution–which is not legally binding on Turkey. It will be binding on us when we become a full member of the EU."

The report on ethnic minorities in Turkey–released by an advisory body linked to the office of the Turkish Prime Minister–has led to debates in Turkey.

Issued in Late October–the report recommen’s greater recognition be given to ethnic minorities in Turkey. Currently–only three ethnic minorities–the Jews–Armenia’s–and Greeks–are officially recognized.

Chairman of the Human Rights Advisory Board Ibrahim Kaboglu–said the report had been submitted to the Prime Ministry–but government officials denied having anything to do with it.

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