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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Obama to Erdogan: rumors swirling around threaten what is a critical alliance

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                                                                       July 22, 2016


REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OBAMA
AND PRESIDENT ENRIQUE PEÑA NIETO OF MEXICO
IN JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE

The East Room


Juliet Eilperin.

Q    President Obama, given the fact that the government of Turkey is asking for the extradition of Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen, how are you weighing that decision?  How do you view allegations that he helped foment the recent coup, and that Turkish intelligence officials have said that they believe U.S. intelligence services had direct knowledge of the coup’s planning? 

Also, with the detention of more than 10,000 Turks, the firing of thousands more, and a ban on overseas travel by academics there, at what point do you need to speak out more forcefully about these tactics?


PRESIDENT OBAMA:  So, Juliet, first of all, I had a chance to talk to President Erdogan this week and reiterated what we said from the earliest reports that a coup was being attempted in Turkey, and that is that we strongly reject any attempt to overthrow democracy in Turkey, that we support the democratically elected government there. 

And I think one of the signs of great strength in the Turkish people was the fact that even strong opponents of President Erdogan -- when reports of the coup were taking place and when it was still uncertain who exactly was behind it -- even opponents of President Erdogan pushed back hard against the idea that the military should overthrow a democratically elected government.

Any reports that we had any previous knowledge of a coup attempt, that there was any U.S. involvement in it, that we were anything other than entirely supportive of Turkish democracy are completely false.  Unequivocally false.  And I said that to President Erdogan.  And I also said to him that he needs to make sure that not just he but everybody in his government understand that those reports are completely false.  Because when rumors like that start swirling around, that puts our people at risk on the ground in Turkey, and it threatens what is a critical alliance and partnership between the United States and Turkey.

So I want to be as clear and unequivocal as I can be:  We deplore the attempted coup.  We said so earlier than just about anybody and have been consistent throughout that the Turkish people deserve a government that was democratically elected.

Now, what is true is, is that President Erdogan and Turkey have a strong belief that Mr. Gülen, here in -- who is in Pennsylvania, a legal resident of the United States, is somehow behind some of these efforts.  And what I said to President Erdogan is the same thing that I would say to you and anybody else who asks, which is we have a process here in the United States for dealing with extradition requests made by foreign governments.  And it’s governed by treaties and it’s governed by laws.  And it is not a decision that I make, but rather a decision that our Justice Department and investigators and courts make, alongside my administration, in a very well-structured and well-established process. 

So I told President Erdogan that they should present us with evidence that they think indicates the involvement of Mr. Gülen, or anybody else who is here in the United States, and it would be processed the way that it is always processed, and that we would certainly take any allegations like this seriously.  But America is governed by rules of law, and those are not ones that the President of the United States or anybody else can just set aside for the sake of expediency.  Even when we are deeply supportive of Turkish democracy, and even when we care deeply about any attempts to overthrow their government or any other illegal actions, we've got to go through a legal process.

     Finally, with respect to what's happening in the aftermath of the coup attempt, in my conversations with President Erdogan, I think in statements by John Kerry and others, what we have indicated is our strong belief and hope that as the dust settles there is not a overreaction that could in some fashion lead to a curtailment of civil liberties, or a weakening of the ability of legitimate opposition or journalists, through legal processes, to voice their concerns and to petition their government, and that the United States, as a friend and partner of Turkey, and me personally, as somebody who has worked with President Erdogan for a long time now, would encourage that the manner in which this coup is investigated and people are held accountable and justice is done is consistent with rule of law and the basic freedoms that I think the Turkish people have fought for and defended. 

     And obviously, we can't discount how scary and shaken not just the Turkish government is but Turkish society is.  Imagine if you had some runt group of military officials here in the United States who started flying off with F-16s or other artillery and were taking shots at government buildings, and people were killed and injured -- people would be scared, and rightfully so.  But one of the challenges of a democratic government is making sure that even in the midst of emergencies and passions, we make sure that rule of law and the basic precepts of justice and liberty prevail.  And my hope is, is that is what will emerge.

     In the meantime, we will continue to work with Turkey, even as they try to stabilize the situation.  Our base at Incirlik, from which we are going after ISIL hard, is up and running again, and we continue to work with them to make sure that we don't lose momentum that we've built in terms of weakening ISIL's position in Syria and to try to strengthen the prospects for some resolution of that terrible conflict.

Friday, July 22, 2016

ABD: ABD’nin yardım ve iade talebi çalışma tekliflerini Türkiye cevap vermedi

ABD: Türkiye'de aşırı önlemlerin uygulanmasini istemeyiz

ABD Dışişleri bakanlığı ve Beyaz Saray’da hafta boyu olduğu gibi perşembe günkü basın toplantılarında da Türkiye ağırlıkla tartışıldı. 

ABD yönetimi darbenin yapılma girişiminden sonra ilk kez Türkiye'deki hükümetin yaptıklarından dolayı endişe duyduklarını ifade etti.

ABD Dışişleri Bakanlığında genelde Amerikalı gazetecilerin Cumhurbaşkanı Erdoğan’ın darbe girişiminden beri yaptıkları hakkındaki ısrarlı soruların sonu gelmedi.

CNN’nin Dışişleri bakanlığı muhabiri Elise Talbott, Türk hükümetinin yaptıklarını aşırı görüp, endişeli olup, olmadığını sorduğunda ABD Dışişleri bakanlığı sözcüsü John Kirby, ‘’darbe girişimi olduğundan beri biz durumdan endişeliyiz ve bundan dolayı da Türk muhataplarımız ile irtibat halindeyiz’’ dedi. Kirby, ABD’nin Türkiye’deki tutuklama ve Erdoğan hükümetinin diğer bazı davranışlarından dolayı da ‘’Türkiye’de olanlardan tabi ki endişeli’’ olduğunu bir kez daha tekrarladı, ayrıca ‘’aşırı önlemlerin uygulanmasini tabi ki istemeyiz, burası açık.’’ diye ekledi.

‘’Bu aşırı önlemlerin uygulandığını görmüyor musunuz peki?’’ sorusuna ise Kirby şunları söyledi: ‘’Söylediğim bu olanları yakından izliyoruz ve Türk muhataplarımız ile de irtibat halindeyiz. Eğer endişelerimiz olursa bunu kaydedeceğiz. Bunu diplomatik yollardan diğer ülkelerle yaptığımız gibi yapacağız. Bunu çok yakından izliyoruz. Sorudan kaçıyor falan değilim.’’

CNN: Biraz öyle gibisiniz. Belki sorudan kaçmayı denemiyorsun ama bunu yapıyorsun.
Kirby: Haklısın. Yeniden söylemeliyim, Türkiye bize bir dost ve müttefik olarak önemli. Onların demokrasisileri de bizim için önemli. Bizim için çok önemli olduğu için de onlarla sürekli yakın irtibatta bulunacağız. Ama yine de çok acil bir durumdan geçtiklerini ve demokrasilerinin tehdit edildiğini bilmeliyiz.

Türkiye halen bir demokrasi mi?
Bir başka soru ise ‘’Türkiye’yi demokrasi olarak halen görüyor musunuz?’’ oldu. Kirby buna, ‘’Evet, biz Türkiye’yi halen demokrasi olarak görmeye devam ediyoruz.’’ cevabını verdi. ‘’Çalışan bir demokrasi olarak mı görüyorsunuz?’’ diye sorulduğunda ise Kirby sadece ‘’bir demokrasi olarak.’’ demeyi uygun gördü.

Kirby: Hangi tehlike büyük karakterize edemeyeceğim
‘’Ya olur ya olmaz. Darbe yenilgiye uğratıldıktan sonra Türkiye’nin demokasisine daha büyük bir tehdit hükümetin fazla ileriye gitmesinden gelmiyor mu? Bu iki tehditten hangisi daha büyük?’’ sorusuna ise sözcü ‘’Bunu karakterize edemeyeceğim’’ dedi.

Böylece Kirby, 15 Temmuz’da yaşanan darbenin mi yoksa darbeden sonra hükümetin yaptıklarının mı demokrasiye daha büyük tehdit olduğu sorusunun karşılığı olarak bilmiyorum demiş oldu.

Kirby yapılan soruşturma ile ilgili işlerinden kovulan ve tutuklananların sayılarının büyük olması ile ilgili bir soruya da ‘’Onların yaptığı her kararı meşrulaştırmıyorum ve savunmuyorum ama söylediğim herkesin onların soruşturma yapma sorumluluğunu anlaması gerekir ve spesifik bilgi için ve kimin sorumlu olduğunu bilmek ve planlamada nasıl olur da bu kadar ileriye gittiğini öğrenmek için olanlara genişçe bakacaklardır'' dedi.

Kirby ABD’nin darbe girişimini kınadığını ama ‘’aynı zamanda Bakan Kerry ileriye doğru hukukun üstünlüğü ve adil yargı süreci hakkındaki endişelerimizi açıkladı’’ dedi.

Kirby: Darbe tehdidinin halen olduğuna inanıyor olabilir
‘’Biz açıkça neler olduğundan endişeliyiz.‘’ diyen Kirby, darbenin halen tehdit olarak Türkiye'de bulunup, bulunmadığı sorusuna karşılık ise ‘’belki de halen tehdidin orada olduğuna inanıyor olabilirler’’ dedi.

Türkiye’nin aldığı her kararın değerlendirmesini yapmayacağını söyleyen Kirby, podyumundan Türkiye’deki ifade özgürlüğü ve basın özgürlüğü hakkında pekçok konuştuğunu hatırlattı. Bu endişelerimiz sürüyor dedi.

ABD’nin yardım ve iade talebi çalışma tekliflerini Türkiye cevap vermedi
Kirby, ABD Dışişleri Bakanlığının Türkiye’den bir ekibi Fethullah Gülen’in iadesi talebinin hazırlanması için ağırlayabileceklerini Türkiye’ye ilettiklerini ama Türkiye’den bu ekip teklifine cevap gelmediğini kaydederken, iade talebinin kanıta dayalı olması gerektiğini hatırlattı. Gülen’in darbe girişimine gerçekten bağlanabilmesinin mümkün olması gerektiğini söyledi.
İade anlaşmasına bağlılıklarında ciddi olduklarını göstermek için ABD’nin hazır olduğunu ekledi.

Kirby’nin verdiği bilgilere göre Türkiye ne darbenin soruşturması için ABD’nin yardım tekllifini ne de iade talebini hazırlamak için ekip ağırlama teklifini şimdiye kadar kabul etti.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Kerry: If Erdogan uses coup to erode democracy that'd be a great challenge to his relations to all of us

Secretary of State John Kerry joined Chuck Todd’s #MTP today to discuss the failed coup in Turkey. Here is transcript, made by me:

Kerry: If Erdogan uses coup to erode democracy that'd be a great challenge to his relations to all of us
Chuck Todd: Are you confident that Erdogan wont use this coup to gain more power and further erode democracy?
Sec Kerry: Well It’s very important that he doesnt do it obviously. That would be a great challenge to his relations to Europe, to NATO and to all of us. 

Kerry: We urged Turkey not to reach out too far
We have urged them not to reach out too far that they are creating doubts in their commitment to democratic process. I hope this wont result in that.

Kerry: I have no evidence or knowledge Gulen is involved w/coup attempt
Chuck Todd: Do you believe Fethullah Gülen is involved with coup attempt?
Kerry: I have no knowledge and I have no evidence at this time whatsoever. I talk to my Turkish counterparts three times within last day. I urged him compile evidence asap and provide us via channels. I pledge to him acc to extradition, our treaty legal process, standards we will immediately evaluate whether evidence is sufficient. They also need to go thru judicial process. They haven't done judicial process yet. There has to be accomponied by evidence, by demonstrated facts which would lead to court to accept extradition. We are not blocking it. We never received a request.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

ABD'den Türkiye'ye: Darbe Girişiminde ABD'nin Rolü Var İması İlişkilere Zarar Verir

ABD Dışişleri Bakanlığından bir açıklama yapılarak, ABD'nin başarısız kalan darbe girişiminde bir rolü olduğuna dair Türkiye'de, kamuoyu önünde ima yoluyla getirilen iddiaların yanlışlığı dile getirildi. 

ABD Dışişleri Bakanı Kerry'nin, Çavuşoğlu'na bu yöndeki imaların ikili ilişkilere zarar verdiğini söylediği açıklandı.

Bakan John Kerry ile Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu arasındaki görüşme hakkındaki açıklamada ayrıca İncirlik hava üssünün en kısa zamanda açılması gerektiği buradaki operasyonların durmadan devam etmesi konusunda iki bakanın 'vurgu' yaptığı açıklandı.

Ayrıca Kerry'nin ''girişilen darbeye cevap verirken hukukun üstünlüğü ve yetkili kurumların sivil hayatları ve malvarlıklarını korumak için gereken bütün önlemlerin alınması gerekliliğini tekrarladığı'' vurgulandı, bunun için Türkiye'nin uluslararası yükümlülüklerine saygı göstermesi gerektiğinin hatırlatıldığı görüldü.


Açıklamanın tümü şu şekilde oldu:

‘’Dışişleri Bakanı (Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu) Türkiye’deki olaylar hakkında en son bilgileri verdi, ve Türk hükümetinin devlet kurumlarını kontrol altında tutmaya devam ettiğini söyledi. Çavuşoğlu ABD’ye desteği için teşekkür etti.

Kerry, ABD’nin Türkiye’nin demokratik şekilde seçilmiş hükümetine olan desteğini yineledi. Girişilen darbeye cevap verirken hukukun üstünlüğü ve yetkili kurumların sivil hayatları ve malvarlıklarını korumak için gereken bütün önlemlerin alınması gerekliliğini tekrarladı.

Dışişleri Bakanı Kerry ayrıca Türk hükümetinden  soruşturma yaparken ve olaylarla ilgisi bulunanlarle ilgili ek bilgi ortaya çıkarırken itidalli olmasını ve yargı sürecine, uluslararası yükümlülüklerine saygı göstermesini istedi. Kerry, ABD’nin Türk yetkili kurumlarına bu soruşturmayı yaparken yardıma hazır olduğunu ifade etti ama ABD’nin başarısız darbe girişimiyle ilgili kamuoyu önünde ima yoluyla veya herhangi bir rolü olduğunu dair iddiaların tamamen yanlış ve ikili ilişkilere zararlı olduğunu açık bir şekilde belirtti.

Sonunda iki bakan da Türkiye’nin NATO müttefiki ve Daiş’i yenmek için kurulan koalisyonun kilit bir üyesi olduğunu görüştürler ve bu operasyonların durmadan devam etmesine odak olmak gerekliliğini vurguladılar.

Kerry to Turkey: public insinuations abt any role by US in failed coup attempt are utterly false and harmful to our bilateral relations.

Secretary Kerry's Call with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu
The following is attributable to Spokesperson John Kirby:

Secretary Kerry spoke this evening with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

The foreign minister provided an update on events in Turkey,  and made clear the Turkish government remains in control of state institutions. The foreign minster thanked the United States for its support.

The Secretary reiterated U.S. support for the democratically elected government in Turkey, for the rule of law and for the need for authorities to take all necessary precautions to safeguard civilian life and property as they respond to this attempted coup.

Secretary Kerry also urged restraint by the Turkish government and respect for due process -- and its international obligations -- as it investigates and uncovers additional information about those involved.  He made clear that the United States would be willing to provide assistance to Turkish authorities conducting this investigation, but that public insinuations or claims about any role by the United States in the failed coup attempt are utterly false and harmful to our bilateral relations.

Finally, both ministers discussed Turkey's importance as both a NATO ally and a key member of the coalition to defeat Da'esh, and stressed the need to stay focused on ensuring operational support to those efforts continue unabated.

US Defense Dept: The Turkish government has closed its airspace to military aircraft, and air operations at Incirlik halted

When asked today US Defense Department on the current status of Incirlik Base, I got this respond from Europe/NATO Spokesperson Henrietta Levin:

--------

Ilhan,


Here is an update on the situation in Turkey and the impact on Incirlik Air Base. You can use this on the record from Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook:


"We continue our efforts to fully account for all Department of Defense personnel in Turkey. All indications at this time are that everyone is safe and secure. We will continue to take the necessary steps to ensure the safety and security of our service members, our civilians, their families and our facilities. The Turkish government has closed its airspace to military aircraft, and as a result air operations at Incirlik Air Base have been halted at this time. U.S. officials are working with the Turks to resume air operations there as soon as possible. In the meantime, U.S. Central Command is adjusting flight operations in the counter-ISIL campaign to minimize any effects on the campaign. U.S. facilities at Incirlik are operating on internal power sources and a loss of commercial power to the base has not affected base operations."


Best,
Henrietta

Henrietta Levin
Spokesperson, Europe/NATO
Office of the Secretary of Defense

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

US Urges Turkey to allow investigations into civilian deaths in Cizre

DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
DPB #122
TUESDAY, JULY 12, 2016
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
Briefer: John Kirby, Spokesperson


My Qs & As w John Kirby 


US urges Turkey to allow effective investigations by Turkish prosecutors 
QUESTION:  Yesterday, you talk about – I ask about Human Rights Watch group report on Turkey southeast, and you said you were going to study on it.  Do you have any comment now?
MR KIRBY:  I don’t have a whole lot more than what I told you yesterday.  We’re obviously aware of the report stating that the Turkish Government has not responded to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights – the letter requesting permission for a UN team to conduct an investigation in southeastern Turkey to examine potential violations by the security forces during military operations in urban areas.  We urge Turkey to allow effective investigations by Turkish prosecutors into civilian deaths and destruction of civilian property in Cizre – is that how you say that --

US Urges Turkey to give UN & NGOs access to Cizre
QUESTION:  Cizre.
MR KIRBY:  -- Cizre, thank you – and other towns in the southeast and give the UN and nongovernmental groups access to the area to document what is taking place.  Last thing I’d say is we urge Turkey to take all feasible precautions, of course, to protect civilians and act consistency – consistently with legal obligations.

QUESTION:  UN and human rights groups have been asking for this permission for months.  In 2016, Turkey is a NATO ally.  How do you see – how it is not possible for Turkey, your ally, not to allow investigators to look into the human rights violations?
MR KIRBY:  Well, again, I think I’ve stated our position.  We urge them to allow that access and to conduct those investigations.  We believe it’s important not because they’re a NATO ally, but because it’s the right thing to do.  And again, we’re not bashful about stating our views in that regard.

Where is Hurşit Külter
QUESTION:  And one more:  There is – Hursit Kulter, he is the local pro-Kurdish party member who have been disappeared for five days and been millions of hashtag going on in the Twitter and social media, and there is no comment from Turkish authorities for over forty five days.  I wonder if you have anything on that.
MR KIRBY:  I’ve not seen that report.  Why don’t we see if we can’t get back to you.

US: Cant confirm PKK leader (Bahoz Erdal) killed

Daily Press Briefing Index Monday, July 11, 2016
2:11 p.m. EDT
Briefer: John Kirby, Spokesperson

My Qs and As w Spokesperson Kirby - Turkey

QUESTION: Thank you, John. I got Turkey-related questions today for -- MR KIRBY: I’m shocked.
QUESTION: First from --
MR KIRBY: Totally shocked.

Turkey-Syria Rapprochement?
QUESTION: First one Syria, Syria/Turkey. Today, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim stated that there are actually not many reasons for Turkey to fight with Syria; on the opposite, actually there are many reasons for Turkey to have good relations with Syria, which assuming he intends to say Syrian regime. How do you see these signs coming from Ankara that may be another rapprochement between Ankara and Damascus?
MR KIRBY: Well, I’ll let Turkish officials speak to those comments. I mean, I’ve seen them, but they should have to characterize those comments. What I will say is Turkey is a NATO ally, Turkey’s a key partner in the coalition, Turkey has been cooperative and helpful with respect to going after Daesh inside Syria materially and in many other ways. They also continue to have a very tough refugee problem on their side of the border more than 2 million that they are caring for and have done so nobly. And I would add that they are they continue to make efforts to shut down the flow of foreign fighters across their borders. So Turkey’s engaged. Turkey’s involved. This isn’t – as I said, it’s not a theoretical exercise for them. It’s real and it’s right on their border.
So we would look, for our part, for that cooperation to continue. We would look for Turkey to continue to contribute to coalition efforts. And we are in constant communication with Turkish officials about how to better effect that kind of coordination and how to better make those improvements and how to improve the way that together we’re all going against a common enemy.

US: Cant confirm PKK leader killed
QUESTION: Over the weekend, there was a news that one of the PKK leaders got hit in northern Syria, which is within the Syrian part of the Kurdish part of Syria. Have you had any kind of confirmation on that? Bahoz Erdal is the name of the PKK leader.
MR KIRBY: I do not.


US: we are studying HRW report on Cizre
QUESTION: Okay, one within Turkey. Just today, Human Rights Watch released a report and saying that Turkey is blocking investigations demand from UN United Nations official of High Commissioner for Human Rights as well as from the human rights groups into the displacements and the unlawful killings of civilians. These are the alleged abuses that are made by this the Turkish Government within the last months, which the people could number about half a million Kurds within Turkey forced to leave their places. Do you have any comment on that one?
MR KIRBY: We’re only just now aware of this human rights report. We’re working our way through it. I don’t have specific opinions to render on any of these findings. Obviously, these are serious issues. These raise serious concerns. But until we’ve had a chance to go through the Human Rights Watch report it would be, I think, imprudent for me to comment one way or another with respect to the findings.
Obviously, broadly speaking, we take all allegations of mistreatment of refugees or innocent civilians very, very seriously. And to the degree any such charges are true, we’d like to see them fully investigated, fully and transparently investigated, and those responsible be held to account. But that’s broadly speaking. I don’t have specific things to address with this particular report.

QUESTION: A final one. These allegations about -- 
MR KIRBY: Are you sure? (Laughter.) 
QUESTION: Yes.
MR KIRBY: Okay.

US: We are taking these human rights violation allegations in Turkey very, very seriously
QUESTION: These allegations about the treatment of the Turkish Government in the southeast of Turkey have been going on for months, since last summer, and these questions have been asked to you many, many times.
MR KIRBY: As I said, we take these kinds of allegations very, very seriously. Nobody wants to see those things occur. And we continue to urge Turkey to fully investigate and to examine these. But you asked me a specific question about a report that just got issued, and we’re still working our way through that. But again, broadly speaking, we take this very, very seriously. 

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Grave allegations about IHH regarding its jihadist support

IHH is operating under charity organization category in Turkey. Israel recognizes it as terrorist group.

İHH is a conservative Turkish NGO, whose members are predominantly Turkish Muslims, active in more than 100 countries.


IHH, since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, did a lot of work within Syria. In the beginning, it was able to help mediate for swap of prisoners between the Syrian regime and various opposition groups. In other words, it had an open channel with the Assad regime.


Later on, as Syrian crisis became a civil war, IHH deeply involved with Syria. Its loads of trucks going into Syria has been always a matter of discussion.


For sometime, it has been heard that there will be a case against IHH at US courts. According to my earlier reports, “IHH management team and dozens of workers” will be charged with various crimes, including but not limited to carrying guns, ammunition into the civil war.


According to US sources talked to me, IHH will be accused of arming and transporting militants into Syria, for those groups affliated with organizations such as ISIS or Al Qaida.


Today, July 3rd, Turkey’s well-known, veteran journalist and respectable TV news show anchor Ugur Dundar penned a column and wrote about potential charges that are expected to be brought against IHH at the US courts, based what he calls “trusted sources.”


Here are charges will be brought against IHH, according to Ugur Dundar piece:


“Here are grave allegations about IHH:
  1. Raising money as “donation” and channeling the money to groups tied to Al Qaida and ISIS within Syia.
  2. Buying guns via shell companies in the Balkans and transporting these guns to groups tied to Al Qaida and ISIS in Syria.
  3. Recruiting jihadists in Caucasus for Al Qaida (linked groups, Al Nusra) and bringing them to a camp in Hatay/Reyhanli. Then transfer those fighters into Syria’s various regions.
In addition to all that, raising those Syrian refugees kids who are staying at illegal religious houses and dormitories as jihadists, then sending them into ranks of Al Qaida and ISIS terrorist organizations.”


Dundar also says there are other grave allegations in the case against IHH.


WIll Erdogan repeat “have you (IHH) asked me?”
President Erdogan, a couple of days ago during an Iftar speech, suddenly turned and call out IHH, grilled them for not asking a permission before going to Gaza with the flotilla in 2010. Erdogan has been using Mavi Marmara Flotilla in his elections campaigns for years and slamming opposition parties for not owning IHH, like he does.
So what is this sudden change? Only because agreement with Israel? Even though IHH raised its opposition voice against the agreement, it did not really carry a campaign against it.


Today IHH apologized for its stance. Everyone is curious to see what he will do next. He will continue slamming IHH?


In any case, his words now became famous: “have you asked my permission before you go?”


Now he can more easily repeat that “accidental” question when this US court case and grave allegations brought to the US Courts and say: “have you asked my permission before... “ committing all those war crimes.


It’s important to repeat “everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty.” So is IHH until we see the indictment and judicial process in the US courts.

Friday, July 01, 2016

US: freedom of press trend is going the wrong direction in Turkey

DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
DPB # 116
FRIDAY, JULY 1, 2016
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
Briefer: John Kirby, Spokesperson
QUESTION: Two quick questions on Turkey, John. One of the Turkish police stated that they already got the IDs of the attackers, Istanbul airport attackers – two of them Russian citizens. Do you have any information on those suspects? Have you been told by the Turkish Government about these attackers?
MR KIRBY: We don’t have any additional information.
QUESTION: Second question is there are just today six different news websites have been shut down, and it looks like there are more critical news sites maybe shut down very soon. I was wondering if you have any comments on this.
MR KIRBY: Yeah. We’ve seen those reports. And look, as we’ve said in the past, unfettered access to information is an essential element of a democratic society. Freedom of expression for individuals as well as media organization we believe is a key element in – and we think that free expression, free press, access to that information are the kinds of principles that are enshrined in the Turkish constitution, and we’d like to see those lived up to. As Turkey’s friend and ally, we’re obviously – go ahead.
QUESTION: You --
MR KIRBY: Go ahead. Somebody didn’t like what I just said, so --
QUESTION: Yes, I did not like that. (Laughter.)
MR KIRBY: Both of you. You didn’t like it, and apparently you two didn’t like it. (Laughter.) So it’s all right. Let’s --
QUESTION: I didn’t have a problem with it at all. (Laughter.) QUESTION: I had a question on Turkey, but --
MR KIRBY: But it’s not that one.
QUESTION: No.
MR KIRBY: Oh, okay. Well, when I get interrupted in midsentence, I just have to assume that you’re not partial to what I’m saying.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MR KIRBY: Go ahead.
QUESTION: These freedom of press questions have been asked to you many times. MR KIRBY: Yes, you have.
QUESTION: In recent times, it looks like you are basically repeating the exact same words and sentences; and this kind of gives that even though the trend is really getting worse and worse, we don’t see any kind of change on your side.
MR KIRBY: (Laughter.) That reminds me of a story when I was an altar boy. 

QUESTION: Oh my. (Laughter.)
MR KIRBY: The priest that I knew was writing his homily, and saying the same thing Sunday after Sunday, and didn’t seem to think it was having an effect, so on one particular Sunday in the margins he wrote, “Shout here.”
I can – I’m not saying it any differently because we don’t believe it any differently. And I don’t – we don’t believe that – just like to Josh’s question about Russian harassment – that me standing up here and pounding my fist on the podium and getting all hot and bothered and lathered up about it is going to make it any better. Okay? We believe in freedom of expression. We believe in freedom of the press. I would think that you guys would appreciate that. And we believe it not just here at home, but we believe that any country that says it believes in democratic principles and has a constitution that enshrines those principles ought to feel the same way. And we’re not bashful about saying it, but to scream it and yell it, to use different verbs or nouns, as you described it, isn’t going to change at all the fact that our concerns remain the same and that we’re having the – unfortunately having to have the same conversations with Turkish officials.
What I’m saying – hang on a second. What I’m saying to you is what we’re saying to them. And as Turkey’s friend and ally we do it in the spirit of friendship, we do it in the spirit of hopefulness that this trend, which I agree with you is worrisome and definitely going the wrong direction, can be reversed. And it can be. It’s a very simple thing to reverse through good, solid, sound leadership decisions. And so far, those leadership decisions haven’t been made. In fact, they’re – the opposite are being made. But I guarantee you that next week and the week after, if we continue to see things going the wrong way, you’re going to continue to hear me say it in exactly the same way, because there’s no better way to put it than we have been putting it.
QUESTION: Okay. On the first – your answer to the first question on the suspects, does that also apply – that means that you haven’t – you can’t confirm and you haven’t even heard it from the Turks? And secondly, does that also apply to these reports that a Chechen was the mastermind of --
MR KIRBY: Yeah, I’m not aware of every conversation that we’re having with Turkish authorities as they investigate this. It’s their investigation. We’ve obviously offered to do whatever we can to help. I’m not aware that they have accepted any of those offers of help, so I – I’m not aware of any conversation specifically that perhaps our law enforcement agencies may be having with Turkish authorities. I can tell you here at the State Department we are not getting blow-by-blow updates from the Turks about what they’re learning in the investigation. In fact, many times we’re hearing about it, as you are, when they read their findings out in the media. So we just don’t have any additional information.
22 7/1/2016 QUESTION: Okay. So in terms of the – you’re not aware of any validity of a Chechen --
MR KIRBY: I don’t – I have no – I have nothing specific on the investigation or the progress of it to talk about.
QUESTION: All right. I have an unrelated question.
QUESTION: In the spirit of friendship and hopefulness, do you --
MR KIRBY: You’re going to end the briefing? (Laughter.)
QUESTION: I’ve got one more, but it’ll be really quick.
QUESTION: Do you have any fresh comment on Turkey’s parliament late last night passing a law restructuring the judiciary?
MR KIRBY: I do, actually. We note the parliament’s passage yesterday of a bill to overhaul two of Turkey’s highest courts, which we understand will be conveyed now to President Erdogan for signature. The United States is deeply concerned about the legislation’s potential to erode the independence of the Turkish judiciary and subject it to increased political pressure. We believe an independent judiciary, as provided for in the Turkish constitution, is essential for advancing the rule of law, promoting a fair and transparent business environment, and remains a key pillar of a healthy democracy. As a friend and NATO ally, we will be monitoring Turkey’s judicial reforms closely to understand how they adhere to our shared democratic values.