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.

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