Tuesday, October 11, 2011

My Qs and As w/State Dpt. Spox Nuland, October 11, 2011

[Reds by other reporters]

Turkey's KCK Kurdish Arrests
QUESTION:  There have been hundreds of arrests in Turkey since 2009.  According to opposition Kurdish part, about 1,500; according to government interior ministry, about 500.  What’s your understanding of this – some of them local elected officials, some of them party members, and most of them belong to the Kurdish opposition party.

MS. NULAND:  Well, we are aware of these arrests, and we are monitoring the cases carefully.  We urge that any investigations and prosecutions proceed in a transparent manner that protects freedom of expression and that all the defendants be assured due process in a timely fashion and in accordance with international standards.

QUESTION:  Certainly this has been going on for about two years.  So detainment and arrests have been going on for over a couple of years.  So your statement is this trial should be transparent, but what is your view so far within these years is happening and some of them have been jailed.  Have you come to any conclusion in terms of these universal values you just described?

MS. NULAND:  Again, I think our concern is that the prosecutions be – if they are going to be prosecuted – be transparent and that the cases be handled in a timely manner, which has not always been the case, as you point out.

NATO Missile Defense-Turkey-Israel

QUESTION:  Thank you so much, ma’am.  I just wanted to ask you if the whole concept – the whole idea of providing Russia with legally binding guarantees of the U.S. missile defense system, non-aiming Russia is on the table, as she discussed.  Is she discussing this idea with foreign minister – Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov?  
MS. NULAND:  Well, as you know, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security Ellen Tauscher is in Moscow this week.  She is continuing the discussions that she’s been having with her counterpart, Deputy Foreign Minister Ryabkov on the opportunity for Russia and the United States, and more broadly, Russia and NATO to cooperate in the area of missile defenses.  As you know, the system that we are building with NATO is a defensive system.  It is not directed at Russia, and we do believe that there are exciting and important opportunities for Russia and the U.S. to cooperate in missile defense.  Russia has missile defenses, we have missile defenses, they ought to be able to cooperate together, which is a different matter than the legally binding issue.  I think you know where we are on that one.
QUESTION:  Well, you also know where the Russians are on that.  And they still pretty much demand you at least consider this.  Are you willing to do that? 
MS. NULAND:  Well, I’m not going to get ahead of the negotiations and discussions that we’re having in Moscow, but we certainly believe that a strong partnership in missile defense is in our interest.  We hope that the Russians will see it in their interests because these are defensive systems and are designed to protect against threats that we share, and we would like to work together on these issues.

QUESTION:  Can I do a follow-up on missile defense?
MS. NULAND:  Please.

QUESTION:  I asked this question before, actually, and you answered, but these discussions in Turkey have been continuous.  The question is whether the intelligence that is going to be gathered by the system will be shared with Israel through America or the NATO.  Can you explain whether the claims are correct?
MS. NULAND:  Well, we have answered this question before and --

MS. NULAND:  -- our answer hasn’t changed.  This is a NATO system that Turkey is contributing to.  We’re very grateful for Turkey taking on this role within NATO.  The information from the radar is designed to protect all NATO allies.

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