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.

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