Thursday, April 24, 2014

Statement by the President on Armenian Remembrance Day

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 24, 2014

Statement by the President on Armenian Remembrance Day

Today we commemorate the Meds Yeghern and honor those who perished in one of the worst atrocities of the 20th century.  We recall the horror of what happened ninety-nine years ago, when 1.5 million Armenians were massacred or marched to their deaths in the final days of the Ottoman Empire, and we grieve for the lives lost and the suffering endured by those men, women, and children.   We are joined in solemn commemoration by millions in the United States and across the world.   In so doing, we remind ourselves of our shared commitment to ensure that such dark chapters of human history are never again repeated.

I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in 1915, and my view has not changed.  A full, frank, and just acknowledgement of the facts is in all of our interests.  Peoples and nations grow stronger, and build a foundation for a more just and tolerant future, by acknowledging and reckoning with painful elements of the past.  We continue to learn this lesson in the United States, as we strive to reconcile some of the darkest moments in our own history.   We recognize and commend the growing number of courageous Armenians and Turks who have already taken this path, and encourage more to do so, with the backing of their governments, and mine.  And we recall with pride the humanitarian efforts undertaken by the American Committee for Syrian and Armenian Relief, funded by donations from Americans, which saved the lives of countless Armenians and others from vulnerable communities displaced in 1915.

As we honor through remembrance those Armenian lives that were unjustly taken in 1915, we are inspired by the extraordinary courage and great resiliency of the Armenian people in the face of such tremendous adversity and suffering.  I applaud the countless contributions that Armenian-Americans have made to American society, culture, and communities.  We share a common commitment to supporting the Armenian people as they work to build a democratic, peaceful, and prosperous nation.

Today, our thoughts and prayers are with Armenians everywhere, as we recall the horror of the Meds Yeghern, honor the memory of those lost, and reaffirm our enduring commitment to the people of Armenia and to the principle that such atrocities must always be remembered if we are to prevent them from occurring ever again.

###

Monday, April 14, 2014

Qs and As w/State dept Spox Psaki on Turkey - Checks and Balances

Daily Press Briefing with Jen Psaki, Spokesperson - April 14, 2014

State dept Spox refers "the system of checks and balances between branches of government" for the first time:


QUESTION:  Can I do Turkey quickly?

MS. PSAKI:  Do we have any more on Iran?  Okay, Turkey. 

QUESTION:  Yes.  Over the weekend, State Department Turkey official Amanda Sloat made a speech for a Turkish convention, and she talk about it – she said that U.S. deeply concerned over the allegations that the politics interfering into the judicial system in Turkey.  Is there any way you can elaborate on this?

MS. PSAKI:  Well, as we have made clear in the past, including in our annual Human Rights Report, we remain deeply concerned about due process and effective access to justice in Turkey.  Independent investigations and independent judicial processes are essential for the rule of law.  We look to Turkey to uphold the essential elements of a healthy democracy such as the rule of law, an independent judiciary, and the system of checks and balances between branches of government.  And as I mentioned, this is an issue we’ve raised in the past when warranted, and it’s also included in our annual Human Rights Report.  So I’d point you to that as well as the text of the speech for more details.

QUESTION:  While Ms. Sloat was making that speech, she talk about that over the last recent months that there were disturbing events.  So apparently this is not the last year’s annual report, but something happened over the last two months.  There were several incidents over the months --

MS. PSAKI:  And oftentimes over those months we raised concerns as those instances occurred. 

QUESTION:  But you – also many times, you stated that these were the internal affairs, for example, when I ask about the judges and prosecutors, counsels, legislation.  So if you are now deeply concerned, that means that you change your --

MS. PSAKI:  I don’t think so.  I’m still not weighing into internal political matters in Turkey.  But certainly, as we’ve expressed in the past, over – around a variety of events, when there are concerns to express about the independence of the judiciary, we’ll express those.

QUESTION:  So they – can I just follow up?  Is this about the prime minister or the leaders in the government talking about the Constitution Court, or is this something about legislations?  I’m just trying to get a sense of what exactly are --

MS. PSAKI:  I’m just not going to detail it further.  Our deputy assistant secretary did an entire speech just a few days ago.

Monday, April 07, 2014

ABD: Seçimlerdeki düzensizliklerden dolayı Şeffaf, Adil ve Özgür demiyoruz!

ABD: Seçimlerdeki düzensizliklerden dolayı Şeffaf, Adil ve Özgür demiyoruz!

İLHAN TANIR – WASHINGTON – POSTA212ABD Dışişleri Bakanlığından üst düzey bir yetkili, Posta212′nin, Türkiye’de geçen hafta yapılan seçimlerle ilgili Bakanlığın pozisyonunu görüştü.
ABD Dışişleri Bakanlığı ve Beyaz Saray, adetten olmasına rağmen, seçim başarısından dolayı ne Başbakan Erdoğan’ı aramışlardı, ne de seçimlerle ilgili yine adetten olan şekilde ‘adil, şeffaf ve özgür’ gibi tanımlalar getirmişlerdi.
ABD Dışişleri Bakanlığının Pazartesi günkü basın toplantısında da, sözcü Jen Psaki, yine yerel seçimlerle ilgili olarak, seçimlerin adil, şeffaf ve özgür olup olmadığı sorusuna karşılık olarak, ‘özel bir yorumumuz yok’ cevabını verdi.
Dışişlerindeki bu basın toplantısından sonra, Posta212′ye konuşan üst düzey bir Dışişleri Bakanlığı yetkilisine, neden Türkiye’deki yerel seçimlerle ilgili, adetten olan ‘şeffaf ve adil’ tanımlamalarını kullanamadığını sorduk. Bakanlıkta Türkiye ile ilgili konulara da bakan yetkili ile olan kısa görüşmede şu soru ve cevaplar alındı.
Türkiye’de seçimleri özgür, şeffaf ve adil olarak tanımlayamamanızı anlayamadım. Şüpheleriniz mi var?
Birçok zaman seçimlerle ilgili düzensizlikler haberleri gelmekte. Bu birçok farklı ülkelerde meydana gelmektedir. Bundan dolayı, bu sürecin sona ermesini beklemeyi tercih ediyoruz. Ama bununla ilgili olarak konuşmaya ve görüşmeye devam edeceğiz.
Bu düzensizlikler sizin bu sıfatları kullanmanızı engelliyor öyle mi?
Bunun hakemliğini yapmak bize düşmez. Genelde, hükümetler bu şikayetlere kendileri bakarlar. Anladığımız kadarıyla da şu an Türkiye’de olan da bu.
Arınç’ın Anayasa Mahkemesi Eleştirisini ABD Katılmıyor
Dışişleri Bakanlığı Sözcüsü Psaki, ayrıca, yine günlük basın toplantısında, Arınç’ın Anayasa Mahkemesi’nin Twitter kararıyla ilgili olarak, bu kararın yanlış olduğuna, ve mahkemenin diğer mahkemeleri dinlemesi ve bireysel haklara daha çok saygı göstermesi gerektiği şeklindeki eleştirileri sorulması üzerine ise şunları söyledi:
Türkiye’nin iç politikasına karışmayacağım. Ama şunu söyleyebilirim ki, Anayasa Mahkemesinin yakın zamanda aldığı ve ifade özgürlüğünü destekliyici kararını memnuniyetle karşılıyoruz. Türk hükümetinin Twitter’in engellenmesinin kaldırılması kararını uyguladığını not ediyoruz. Biz aynı şekilde hükümetin Youtube’a ulaşıma konan engellemeyi de kaldırmasını bekliyoruz. Türk hükümetini, bütün Sosyal Medya kanallarına ulan ulaşımın açık kalması için ısrarlı talebimizi sürdürüyoruz.
ABD Dışişleri Bakanlığı da Hersh’ü reddetti
Beyaz Saray’ın dediklerini destekliyoruz. Biz, kendi istihbaratımıza, kendi raporlarımızın arkasındayız. Uluslararası toplum da geniş bir şekilde bu görüştedir ki 21 Ağustos kimyasal silah saldırılarının arkasında Esad rejiminin olduğu konusunda hiçbir soru işareti bulunmamaktadır.

US can't characterize Turkey's elections as 'fair, free and transparent'

US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki, during the daily press briefing on Monday, preferred not to characterize Turkey's recent local elections as 'fair, free and transparent." 

When asked whether Turkey's local elections can be characterized as 'fair, free and transparent,' Psaki said, she has "no particular analysis."

This is highly unusual. One thing that neither the president Obama nor any other US officials called Prime Minister Erdogan to congratulate for his recent success. Though, for US not to characterize the Turkey's elections 'fair, free and transparent' is pretty significant deal.

After the daily press briefing, I had a chance to talk about this particular subject with a senior State department official. Here are my quick questions and answers with the senior official:

I'm puzzled that you can't qualify Turkey's recent local elections as 'free, fair and transparent'?
Often times there are irregularities that reported. We let the process sees itself through. This happens in many countries. We will keep talking about it though. 

So, because of these irregularities you can't characterize Turkey@s elections as fair and transparent?
Not for us to judge. But often times, governments will look into them themselves (these irregularities) as we understand this is the case in Turkey.


Sunday, April 06, 2014

Beyaz Saray Hersh’i Yalanladı

Beyaz Saray Hersh’i Yalanladı

İLHAN TANIR – WASHINGTON – POSTA212
ABD’li gazeteci Seymour Hersh’in ortaya attığı büyük iddiaya Beyaz Saray’dan yalanlama geldi. Haber şöyleydi: Suriye’de geçtiğimiz yıl düzenlenen sarin gazı saldırısının Başbakan Tayyip Erdoğan’ın bilgisi dahilinde Türkiye tarafından yaptırıldığı ve ABD’nin, bu ‘acı gerçeği’ son anda öğrenip saldırıdan sorumlu tutulan Suriye rejimine karşı harekat düzenlemekten vazgeçip, ‘felaket sonuçlar’ doğuracağı için bu durumu gizli tuttu.

Beyaz Saray’dan POSTA212 Washington Temsilcisi İlhan Tanır’a konuyla ilgili özel açıklama yapıldı. Açıklamada şöyle denildi:
Sn. Hersh’in son yazdığı haberi gördük. Bu haber sadece isimsiz kaynaklara dayanan bilgiler ışığında 21 Ağustos’da Suriye meydana gelen Kimyasal Silah saldırısı hakkında tamamen yanlış sonuçlara ulaşmaktadır. Aşağıdaki yalanlama, on-record olarak Sn. Hersh’in kendisine, ODNI (Milli İstihbarat Ajansı) İletişim Direktörü ve sözcüsü Shawn Turne tarafından ve Beyaz Saray Milli Güvenlik Konseyi sözcüsü Caitlin Hayden tarafından, yayınlanmadan önce sunulmuştur.
Llibya’dan silahların taşınması hakkındaki sorunuzla ve başkalarının (başka ülkelerle kastı Hersh’in söylediği Türkiye) 21 Ağustos Kimyasal Silah saldırısından sorumlu olabileceği hakkındaki fikirlerinizle ile ilgili olarak Shawn Turner’in cevabı şudur:
Sadece ve Sadece Esad Rejimi Sorumlu
”Biz bu anlatımınız (kimyasal silah saldırısı ile ilgili) her yanlış yönüne yorum yapmayacağız ama bir şey kesin ki 21 Ağustos kimyasal silah saldırısından sadece ve sadece Esad rejimi sorumlu olabilirdi. Biz bu sonuca, Amerikan ve müttefikleri tarafından toplanan istihbarat sayesinde ulaştık. Bu görüş, uluslararası toplumun büyük çoğunluğunca paylaşılmaktadır ve bu (görüşbirliği) daha önce görülmemiş bir ortaklık ile Esad’ın Kimyasal Silah depolarının ortadan kaldırılmasına götürmüştür. İstihbaratın baskı altına alınması veya değiştirilmesi hakkındaki imalarınız en basitinden yanlıştır. Aynı şekilde, ABD’nin Libya’dan (Suriye’ye) silah yardımı yaptığı da yanlıştır.”
Suriye Muhaliflerinin Kimyasal Silah Kapasite Raporu Yoktur
Suriye muhaliflerinin kimyasal silah kapasitelerine ilişkin hazırlandığı söylenen istihbarat raporu hakkındaki soruya gelince, yine Shawn Turner’in açıklaması şudur:
”Hiçbir zaman İstihbarat Kurumlarından ne böyle bir rapor istenmiştir ne de (onlarca) hazırlanmıştır.”
2 Eylül İddiası Yanlış
Suriye ile ilgili olarak askeri planlamalar hakkındaki sorulara gelince, Cailtin Hayden’in cevabı:
”Uzun zamandır, Suriye için bütün ihtimallerin masa üstünde olduğuna ve uygun acil askeri planlamaların da yapıldığını söyledik. 31 Ağustos tarihinde Başkan Obama, kamuoyu önünde, ABD’nin Esad rejiminin kimyasal silah kullanılmasına cevap olarak kısıtlı askeri saldırı yapacağını açıklamıştır. Bu saldırının amacı Esad’ı bir daha kimyasal silah kullanımından caydırmak, rejiminin bu tür silahları kullanmak kapasitesini azaltmak ve dünyaya bu tür silahların kullanılmasının tolere edilmeyeceğini açıklıkla göstermek içindi. Ama Başkan’ın, 2 Eylül günü kesinleşmiş bir askeri müdahele yapmak üzere karar verdiği haberi tümüyle yalandır (fabricated.) Başkan Obama’nın 31 Ağustos günü söylediği gibi, askeri saldırı emiri vermek otoritesi kendisinde olduğu halde, ABD’nin milli güvenliğine doğrudan ve acil bir tehdit olmadığı için, Başkan bu kararını Kongre’ye götürmeye karar vermştir. Yaptığı budur ve Eylül ayının 10′unda ise, Kongre liderlerine kuvvet kullanma ile ilgili oylamanın ertelenmesini istemiştir -ki böylece diplomatik yolu izleme ve bu şekilde Suriye’nin kimyasal silahlarının ortadan kaldırma sonucuna ulaşılmıştır.’

White House Refutes Seymour Hersh

White House says they provided answers to Sy Hersh earlier:

We have seen Mr. Hersh's latest story, which is based solely on information from unnamed sources and which reaches conclusions about the 21 Agustos chemical weapons attack in Syria that are completely off-base. The following are relevant on-record rebuttals we provided to Mr. Hersh's fact checker in advance of publication from ODNI Director of Communications and Spokesperson Shawn Turner and National Security Council Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden:

In response to your question about weapons moving from Libya and the suggestion that others could have been responsible for the CW attack, on the record from Shawn Turner:

The Assad regime, and only the Assad regime, could have been responsible
“We’re not going to comment on every inaccurate aspect of this narrative, but to be clear: the Assad regime, and only the Assad regime, could have been responsible for the chemical weapons attack that took place on August 21 We have made that judgment based upon intelligence collected by the United States and by our partners and allies. It is a view that is shared overwhelmingly by the international community and has led to unprecedented cooperation in the dismantling of Assad’s CW stockpiles.  The suggestion that there was an effort to suppress or alter intelligence is simply false. Likewise, the idea that the United States was providing weapons from Libya to anyone is false.”

In response to your question about a classified paper on the Syrian rebels’ chemical-weapons capabilities, on the record from Shawn Turner:

“No such paper was ever requested or produced by Intelligence Community analysts.”    

A fixed deadline of September 2, 2013 is completely fabricated.

In answer to your questions about military planning, on the record from Caitlin Hayden:

“We have long said that all options were on the table in Syria and that our military was doing appropriate contingency planning, as you’d expect them to do.  The President said publicly on August 31, 2013 that he had determined that it was in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike. He said that the purpose of this strike would be to deter Assad from using chemical weapons, to degrade his regime’s ability to use them, and to make clear to the world that we will not tolerate their use.  But the notion that the President ordered our military to undertake action in Syria by a fixed deadline of September 2, 2013 is completely fabricated. As the President said when he addressed the nation on August 21 even though he possessed the authority to order military strikes, he believed it was right, in the absence of a direct or imminent threat to our security, to take the debate to Congress. That’s what he did, and on September 10 asked the leaders of Congress to postpone a vote to authorize the use of force so we could pursue the diplomatic path we are now on and that is resulting in the removal of Syria’s chemical weapons.”

Monday, March 31, 2014

Qs & As on Turkey Elections & F.Gulen w State Dpt. Spox

Daily Press Briefing Index
Monday, March 31, 2014
1:27 p.m. EDT
Briefer: Marie Harf, Deputy Spokesperson

Yes, Turkey.

QUESTION:  Like before the elections earlier this week, the way the United States has seemingly stepped up its criticism of Turkey ever since that corruption scandal started.  And then last week the White House criticized the Erdogan government of – for the Twitter shutdown.

MS. HARF:  As did I.

QUESTION:  Yeah.  As you did, right?

MS. HARF:  Mm-hmm.

QUESTION:  Did you, like, overestimate the power of Erdogan’s opponents?  Because the elections showed that he won a landslide victory.

MS. HARF:  Well, we’re obviously following the local elections in Turkey and would also note that final results have not yet been released.  Obviously, we would congratulate the people of Turkey for their participation in these elections.  And I am not going to comment further on the results of local elections or do any further analysis, particularly before they haven’t been officially confirmed by the higher elections council.

QUESTION:  There are some reports of fraud as well.  Are you aware of that and are you concerned?

MS. HARF:  Well, we’ve seen these reports; as we do around the world, obviously urge election officials to investigate any credible allegations of irregularities.  And I would refer you to the Turkish officials to speak more to that.

QUESTION:  Do you think President Obama will congratulate Erdogan for winning the elections?

MS. HARF:  I have no predictions about what anyone else might say.  I just know what I’m saying.



FETHULLAH GULEN 
QUESTION:  (Inaudible) Turkey?

MS. HARF:  Yes.

QUESTION:  Right after the elections, Erdogan’s victory speech, he mentioned Pennsylvania several times.  That’s of course because there’s this Islamic – Islamist preacher there. 

MS. HARF:  Mm-hmm.

QUESTION:  So my question is, like, there has been so much talk that the United States and even the West in general are more in line with that – with Fethullah Gulen’s position on Turkey than Erdogan, and that’s why the United States has stepped up its criticism on Twitter, on like the corruption, and also regarding Erdogan’s handling of other (inaudible) issues.

MS. HARF:  Well, that’s ridiculous.  Regardless of whether this gentleman was living in Pennsylvania or not, it would still not be okay for the Government of Turkey to ban Twitter.  It would still not be okay for the Government of Turkey to crack down like they have on dissent.  Those things have nothing to do with the fact that one of their citizens is living in the Pennsylvania countryside. 

QUESTION:  Aren’t you more in position with, for example, Fethullah Gulen --

MS. HARF:  No.

QUESTION:  -- who is reportedly pro-Israel-Turkey relations --

MS. HARF:  Turkey’s a NATO ally.  Let’s be clear here.  Turkey is a close NATO ally.  We don’t always agree on everything, but we don’t agree on everything with anyone.  So forget about the gentleman living in Pennsylvania.  We have a bilateral alliance with the Government of Turkey.  We will speak out when we disagree.  We will speak out when we agree.  And it’s really up to the people of Turkey to make decisions about their government.  We – it’s not up to us, and any reports that we have any impact on that are just crazy.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

White House Warns Turkey Once More in One Week

The United States is deeply concerned that the Turkish government has now twice in recent days blocked its citizens’ access to basic communication tools.  As we have said, we oppose these restrictions on the Turkish people’s access to information and support the people of Turkey in their calls to restore full access to blocked technologies. 

Laura Lucas Magnuson, White House, Spokesperson for the National Security Council

Monday, March 24, 2014

US STATE DEPT SPOX ON TURKEY'S TWITTER BAN

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

DPB # 51

MONDAY, MARCH 24, 2014

TURKEY'S TWITTER BAN

QUESTION:  -- the Turkish Government tweet the rules of engagement or perhaps put them on Facebook or YouTube or something like that.

MS. HARF:  I would note here that there have been more tweets from Turkey since the government blocked it than there were before.

QUESTION:  So can we just --

MS. HARF:  Which is an interesting, I think, signal to people that try to clamp down on freedom of expression that it doesn’t work and isn’t the right thing to do.

QUESTION:  Are you helping in this? 

QUESTION:  So --

MS. HARF:  Hold on.  We’ll – let me finish Matt. 

QUESTION:  So do you have any additional comment on the Twitter ban?  When Erdogan announced that he was going to do this, he said now every – he didn’t care about international reaction and now the world would see the power of the Turkish Republic. 

MS. HARF:  Well, I think what the world saw was the number of people inside Turkey tweeting about what they thought about it being blocked there. 

QUESTION:  Well, could I ask you what you think --

MS. HARF:  Yes.

QUESTION:  -- about the power of the Turkish Republic since they have failed so dramatically to enforce this ban? 

MS. HARF:  We have conveyed our serious concerns over this action directly to Turkish authorities, both from here and on the ground.  Obviously, we support freedom of expression in Turkey and everywhere else.  We oppose any action to encroach on the right to free speech, and continue to urge directly the Turkish Government to unblock its citizens’ access to Twitter and ensure free access to all social media platforms --  

QUESTION:  Right, but -- 

MS. HARF:  -- so they can see what you and everyone else tweets.

QUESTION:  Right, but what does it say to you, if anything, about the power of the Turkish Republic? 

MS. HARF:  In what respect? 

QUESTION:  The fact that they’ve tried to ban it and it hasn’t worked.  I mean, is this the kind of thing that you want to see a NATO ally doing or boasting about --

MS. HARF:  No.

QUESTION:  -- beforehand, and then --

MS. HARF:  No.

QUESTION:  -- failing miserably at it? 

MS. HARF:  Well, the second part – clearly, we think it’s good that people inside Turkey are still able to express themselves, but that doesn’t mean that it should be blocked.  I wasn’t trying to give that statistic -- 

QUESTION:  Okay. 

MS. HARF:  -- in terms of saying that it’s an acceptable action. 

QUESTION:  So you’re --


TWITTER BAN HAS NO PLACE IN DEMOCRACY


MS. HARF:  No, clearly this is not an action we think the Turkish Government should take.  We’ve told them that directly.  We will continue to tell them that directly.  There’s no place in a democracy for this kind of clamping down on people’s right to free speech.  There’s just not.

QUESTION:  Okay.  And so you would encourage people in Turkey to defy – to continue to defy the prime minister’s ban.  Is that --

MS. HARF:  I’m not going to go that far, but I – what I will say is it’s important for people all over the world to hear what the Turkish people have to say.

QUESTION:  Do you see any connection between the Twitter issue and the downing of the plane, the Syrian plane, perhaps that Mr. Erdogan is trying to export his --

MS. HARF:  Not at all.

QUESTION:  -- local issues?  You don’t see that? 

MS. HARF:  Not at all.  No, not at all.

QUESTION:  Are you helping the Turks in breaking the blockade? 

MS. HARF:  Is the United States Government? 

QUESTION:  Yeah. 

MS. HARF:  No, not to my knowledge.  We’ve been in contact with Twitter and with the Government of Turkey about this, but to my knowledge, no, we are not.  But we’ve said very clearly to the Turkish Government that this is not acceptable and that we do not think they should be able to block their citizens’ access to these kind of social media platforms. 

QUESTION:  Mm-hmm.  And -- 

QUESTION:  Just to clarify, Marie, you – I asked this question last week, that whether United States Government is involved with this case in the --

MS. HARF:  With Twitter?

QUESTION:  In this dispute between the Twitter and the Turkish Government in terms of the legal process, and you said no.  Still the case?  Still -- 

MS. HARF:  Well, I don’t think I said no; I think Jen said no.  But we saw over the weekend, I think, some more actions being taken, right?  So I’m not sure exactly how you asked the question last week, but what I can say is that we have been in contact with Twitter and separately with the Government of Turkey to talk about the fact that people should not have their access blocked to Twitter.

QUESTION:  So it is a legal dispute right now, and that maybe – I mean, Turkish Government is pursuing this ban, and they took several additional measures during the weekend to stop the people to use Twitter, like DNS ban, et cetera. 

MS. HARF:  Which we think is an encroachment on their citizens’ freedom of expression, and we don’t think that it should be continued. 

QUESTION:  You are in contact with the Twitter in terms of legal dispute or --

MS. HARF:  I’m not say in terms of any – I don’t know the legal – the specific legal aspect you’re referring to.  We are in touch with Twitter, yes, broadly speaking.  I don’t know exactly what that contact is like, but I don’t know if the legal – if that’s an internal Turkish matter, I’m not exactly sure, but we’ve been in contact with both Twitter and the Turkish Government. 

QUESTION:  I mean, because Twitter is represented by the lawyers right now in Turkey, and there will be maybe case against --

MS. HARF:  I don’t have more details on any legal action that may or may not be happening in Turkey.  I just don’t have those details.  What we’ve said is separate and apart from that.  People should be able to express themselves freely, whether it’s on Facebook or Twitter or whatever – Flickr, Tumblr, whatever people want to use – and that governments should not encroach on their – they shouldn’t block access for their citizens to do so.  I don’t have a lot more information.

QUESTION:  Yeah, but --  

QUESTION:  What about Instagram?

MS. HARF:  And Instagram too. 

QUESTION:  Yeah, the problem -- 

QUESTION:  Not Instagram. 

QUESTION:  Not – (laughter).  Don’t play favorites now, Marie. 

MS. HARF:  I am not.  I am not on Instagram, but --  

QUESTION:  The problem, the Turkish Government is trying to get some information about some users, specific users who are tweeting against the government and --

MS. HARF:  What I’m saying is that we oppose the Turkish -- 

QUESTION:  And the Twitter – and my question – okay.  My question is --

MS. HARF:  Yes.

QUESTION:  -- Twitter assured to Turkish Twitter accounts users that they will not disclose any private information.

MS. HARF:  That would be a question for Twitter, not for me.

QUESTION:  Yeah.  But are you supporting this stand of Twitter against Turkish Government?

MS. HARF:  That’s not something that I should take a stand on.  I don’t think that’s something that the company, Twitter, can decide on its own.

QUESTION:  Because --

MS. HARF:  What we have said is that governments should not block access for their citizens.

QUESTION:  Yes.  But at the same time it’s a privacy question – not only freedom of expression, but the people are also trying to protect their privacy --

MS. HARF:  Again, that a question that’s --

QUESTION:  -- and the Turkish Government is trying to get the information of all of the users.

MS. HARF:  That’s a question, I think, is better addressed to Twitter, who controls that issue.  What I am saying is people’s freedom of expression should not be blocked by their own government.

QUESTION:  So no comment about the privacy?

MS. HARF:  I don’t have more for you than this – for you on this case than that. 

QUESTION:  Okay.

MS. HARF:  I’m happy to check with our folks and see if there’s more. 

QUESTION:  Right. 

MS. HARF:  I just don’t think I’ll have more.

QUESTION:  Okay.  Thank you.  Please.

And another question about the jet incident.

MS. HARF:  Yeah.


SYRIAN JET SHOT DOWN BY TURKISH JETS


QUESTION:  Are you concerned that this confrontation between Turkey and Syria can turn into a more broader confrontation just before the elections, because ---

MS. HARF:  Well, I think that’s the question Said just asked, and what I said was it’s a little too early to make sweeping characterizations about what may come from this.  Obviously, we know there was a situation here where the Turks repeatedly warned the Syrians before taking action.  I don’t think I want to probably draw broader conclusions about what will happen going forward.

QUESTION:  No, I’m – my question wasn’t related NATO that Said asked in terms of the NATO involvement.  Beyond the NATO involvement, are you encouraging the parties to deescalate the tension?

MS. HARF:  I mean, we’re certainly in contact with the Turkish Government here on this issue.  I’m not – I mean, in terms of the parties, you’re talking about the Assad regime?

QUESTION:  No, the parties – NATO ally, Turkey.  Because there will be an election this week --

MS. HARF:  Right.

QUESTION:  -- and the main --

MS. HARF:  I’m not seeing the connection here.

QUESTION:  The main opposition party urged to not do any military intervention, military – I mean, unilateral military action against Syria just before the election, to use a populist tool just before the election.  So this is the concern of the main opposition party and other parties in Turkey.

MS. HARF:  I think I probably don’t have much comment on internal Turkish politics or how they may or may not respond --

QUESTION:  It stirs an international crisis.

QUESTION:  Well, are you encouraging the Turks to kind of remain calm and not escalate the situation?

QUESTION:  Yes.

MS. HARF:  I’m not sure how they – I mean I’m not sure there’s even talk of escalation here.  I’m happy to check with our folks and see.  To my understanding, it was a limited situation.  I haven’t heard that there is escalation here. 

QUESTION:  Is --

MS. HARF:  I’m happy to check with our team.  We’re still talking to the Turks to get the facts about what happened here, but I, quite frankly, haven’t heard talk that people are worried about that.

QUESTION:  So – because my question is related to another religious site within Syria belonging to Turkey.  This is a Turkish territory, 35 kilometers from Turkish broader within Syria, and it’s under threat some groups, ISIS and other radical al-Qaida-affiliated groups.  And some cabinet members, Turkish cabinet members, even urged not to do anything to provoke Turkey for any unilateral military action, for example.  This is another concern for Turkey to be part of the unilateral military action within Syria.  So only – not only the jet, but this is another risk for Turkey to involve with Syria in terms of this kind of military action.

MS. HARF:  Well, I don’t have any, in terms of that specific question, any details for you on that.  Again, I think I’ll let the Turkish Government speak for what their response will or won’t be here.  As I said, we’ve talked to them, we’ve gotten the facts of what’s happened here, and if there’s more to share tomorrow, I’m happy to.

QUESTION:  Marie, a question that is on Syria. 

MS. HARF:  Mm-hmm.

QUESTION:  There are report that 600,000 Syrians have applied for asylum in Europe and the United States.  Could you tell us the portion of that that is being sought with the United States?

MS. HARF:  I don’t know the answer, Said.  Let me check with our folks and see.  I don’t have the numbers.

QUESTION:  Just one more question on the Syrian jet. 

MS. HARF:  Uh-huh. 

QUESTION:  You said we’ve established the facts and multiple warning were issued, I guess.

MS. HARF:  Mm-hmm.  By the Turkish Government.

QUESTION:  How – yeah.  How did you establish that?  Did they share any information with the State Department?

MS. HARF:  The Turkish Government?

QUESTION:  Yeah.

MS. HARF:  With the United States Government they did.  I don’t know if it was us or with the Defense Department, but --

QUESTION:  Yeah.  But they shared, like, intelligence information about the incident?

MS. HARF:  I don’t know if it’s intelligence they told us.  They warned the Syrians multiple times.  I don’t know the details of exactly what that --

QUESTION:  Yeah.   But how did you verify what they actually conveyed to you?

MS. HARF:  I can check with our folks and see.

QUESTION:  Were you in touch with them in real time during the incident?

MS. HARF:  I don’t know.  I’m happy to check.  It might be – and it might be the Department of Defense, but I’m happy to check with them.

QUESTION:  So did you --

MS. HARF:  I just don’t know.

QUESTION:  Did you say that these pieces of information were verified, or you’re not sure?

MS. HARF:  We have no reason to believe that it’s not accurate, correct.  Yes. 

QUESTION:  Okay.  But --

MS. HARF:  And I’m happy to see if there are more details about how we verified it, correct.

---

SYRIAN JET DOWNING

QUESTION:  Do you have a comment on the downing of a Syrian jet apparently --

MS. HARF:  Yes.

QUESTION:  -- in the Syrian airspace yesterday by the Turkish?

MS. HARF:  Well, obviously, we’ve been following the issue closely.  We have been in close contact with our Turkish counterparts – I would remind you, NATO allies – regarding the incident.  We are committed to Turkey’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.  We note that the Turkish Government has been fully transparent about the rules of engagement it is operating under since the Syrian Government shot down a Turkish aircraft in 2012.  The Turkish Government in this case said its forces only fired after the Syrian military aircraft violated Turkish airspace and after repeated warnings from Turkish authorities.  Obviously, the Government of Turkey is looking into the incident more, but we are talking to them and will remain in contact with them.

QUESTION:  So to the best of your information, do you have any independent information that it was actually shot down over Syrian airspace or Turkish airspace?

MS. HARF:  Where it was actually shot down, I don’t have specific information about that, but as I said, the Turkish Government said it only fired on the aircraft after it violated Turkish aircraft – or, excuse me, airspace, and was repeatedly warned by the Turkish Government not to do so.

QUESTION:  Are you concerned that any escalation might involve all other NATO allies, considering that you have some sort of a pact with Turkey?

MS. HARF:  Well, I think it’s a little soon to sort of take this more broadly.  I would note that I don’t think Turkey has asked for anything yet in terms of NATO.  Obviously, we’re talking to them about how to move forward here, but again, I think it’s too soon to sort of draw broader characterizations about what might happen next.

QUESTION:  And finally, Brahimi said that he doesn’t see Geneva II reconvening anytime soon.  Do you have any comment on that?

MS. HARF:  Well, we have obviously been working with the special representative quite closely.  We want – all want Geneva – the Geneva process, I would say, to reconvene when we can make progress.  And up until this point, we’ve seen the Syrian regime not come to the table as a party that wants to make progress here.  So I know he’s working on it to see if and when we can reconvene this and how, to see if we can move this diplomatic process forward.

QUESTION:  So you said that Turkey has been fully transparent about the rules of engagement?  What does that mean, exactly?

MS. HARF:  That it has operated under since the Syrian Government shot down a Turkish aircraft in 2012. 

QUESTION:  Right, but --

MS. HARF:  So I think what it means, without knowing all the specifics here, is that, for example, it repeatedly warned --

QUESTION:  Yeah.

MS. HARF:  -- the Syrian aircraft not to violate its airspace.  It only then took action.  That’s what I think rules of engagement refers to here.

QUESTION:  Right.  Right.  But the rules of engagement, are they public?  You don’t have --

MS. HARF:  I can check.

QUESTION:  Is that what that means in terms of --

MS. HARF:  Or do we mean transparent with the United States?  I don’t know.

QUESTION:  Well, transparent – I mean, maybe you’d like to see --

MS. HARF:  I’ll check.