Turkey boycotts human rights meeting over presence of NGOs

FILE - In this Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018 file photo, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends a military graduation ceremony on Victory Day, in A

FILE - In this Thursday, Aug. 30, 2018 file photo, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan attends a military graduation ceremony on Victory Day, in A

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Turkey's government is boycotting Europe's largest human rights conference because it was not allowed to prevent the participation of non-governmental organizations it objects to.

The U.S. Helsinki Commission, a U.S. government agency, said on Twitter on Monday that Turkey is the only country boycotting the meeting "because it insists on having the ability to veto NGOs wishing to participate."

The yearly two-week conference, which opened Monday in Warsaw, is devoted to democracy and human rights. It is organized by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which includes 57 states from North American, Europe and Asia.

The Turkish delegation staged a walkout of the meeting last year after failing to block groups affiliated with cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames for the failed 2016 coup.