Wednesday, April 30, 2014

State Dept Spox calls Erdogan's statement "ridiculous"

Daily Press Briefing Index
Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Briefer: Marie Harf, Deputy Spokesperson
QUESTION:  On Turkey. 

QUESTION:  Okay.  One more question.  In that interview, which was widely publicized in Turkey, Prime Minister Erdogan talks about these groups within U.S. that were behind the protests and upheavals in Egypt, Ukraine, and Istanbul.  Do you know anything about these groups?

MS. HARF:  Well, let’s be clear that this is not about the United States in any of those places you just said.  And we’re not behind any of the legitimate, democratic protests we’ve seen in any of those countries.  So let’s be very clear that this is not about what the U.S. is doing, because we’re not doing anything.  This is an internal Turkish matter.  That’s where they need to focus.

QUESTION:  But the prime minister says that there is a scenario.  It’s the same scenario as being conducted in Ukraine, in Egypt, in Istanbul, in Turkey.

MS. HARF:  Well, we certainly believe that people all over the world should be able to legitimately express their points of view.  What I’m saying is the United States has nothing to do with that.  We say that they should be able to do, but this isn’t about us.  This is about what’s happening in each of those countries.

QUESTION:  What do you think about the notion that there are groups either in U.S. or in the West that trigger this kind of upheaval in these --

MS. HARF:  I think it’s ridiculous and not borne out by the facts on the ground.

Fethullah Gulen
MS. HARF:  Uh-huh.

QUESTION:  I know that you were asked – or Jen Psaki was asked about prime minister’s – Turkish prime minister interview with Charlie Rose.  I just want to again repeat, is there any way you can share?  The prime minister said that he expects from U.S., as his strategic partner, to either expel Fethullah Gulen, who lives in Pennsylvania, or extradite him back to Turkey.  What is your response to this?

MS. HARF:  Well, I’m going to say probably exactly what Jen said.  As a matter of longstanding policy, the Department of State does not comment on pending or potential extradition requests. 

QUESTION:  Don’t you think prime minister has a point when he says that as a strategic partner that he returned tons of people in the past and U.S. should do the same?

MS. HARF:  I’m just not – you can ask the question any way you want.  I’m not going to comment on it.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Conference Schedule

Conference Schedule

9:00 - 9:30                 Registration

9:30 - 9:45                 Welcoming Remarks
Talip Kucukcan (Insight Turkey)

09:45 - 10:45              Keynote Address
H. E. Besir Atalay (Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey)
Moderated by Erol Cebeci (SETA DC)

10:45 - 11:00              Coffee Break

11:00 - 12:30              Elections and Future of Turkish Politics
Chair:          Kadir Ustun (SETA DC)
Speakers:    Hatem Ete (SETA)
Etyen Mahcupyan (Zaman Daily)
Fuat Keyman (Sabancı University & Istanbul Policy Center)
Ertan Aydın (POLLMARK)

12:30 - 1:30               Luncheon

1:30 - 3:00                 Democratization in New Turkey: What is Next?
Chair:          Amb. James H. Holmes (ATC)
Speakers:      Taha Ozhan (SETA)
Oral Calislar (Radikal Daily)
Ali Bayramoglu (Yeni Safak Daily)
Mustafa Karaalioglu (Star Daily)

3:00 - 3:15                 Coffee Break

3:15 - 4:45                 Turkey and the Arab Awakening
Chair:          Marina Ottaway (Wilson Center)
Speakers:      Stephen Larrabee (RAND)
Kilic Kanat (SETA DC)
Ufuk Ulutas (SETA)
Ramazan Yıldırım (Ru'ye Turkiye)

4:45 - 5:00                  Closing Remarks
Kadir Ustun (SETA DC)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Statement by the President on Armenian Remembrance Day

Office of the Press Secretary
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

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.”