Friday, March 27, 2015

US: Concerned w Turkish Security Bill that would reduce space for diverse points of view

Acting Deputy Spokesperson of the State Dept.

03-27-2015 - Friday at the US State Dept.

Turkish Security Passage at the Parliament:
MR. RATHKE: Well, we’ve – we’re aware of the Turkish security legislation. We’ve – as we’ve said, we believe curbs on freedom of assembly weaken rather than strengthen democratic societies. And we share the concerns raised by civil society actors and others about Turkey’s security legislation, that it would reduce space for diverse points of view. And we will continue to discuss with Turkish Government officials the importance of taking steps to safeguard due process as well as renew confidence that legal changes will not erode fundamental freedoms. 

QUESTION: -- legislation just passed, and that was the comment of yours before the legislation passed, I think. Now that it’s passed, and how do you see from yesterday to today the change in the democratic standards in Turkey?
MR. RATHKE: Well, I’m not going to comment in that way. What I’ve said is our point of view on the situation in Turkey and on this legislation, and we will continue to discuss with Turkish officials the importance of safeguarding due process. 

Erdogan's Remarks on Iran's influence in the Region:
QUESTION: Turkish president yesterday talking about the Yemen he was also talking about the Iranian influence in the region, and he was saying that basically Iran is replacing when the ISIS leaves. Does the U.S. Government also sees Iranian domination as a problem in the region?
MR. RATHKE: Are you speaking about Yemen or are you speaking more generally? QUESTION: More generally right now, but it was basically he was talking about Iranian
influence in Yemen, and then talk about the regional term.
MR. RATHKE: Well, with – we’ve spoken quite a bit about the – our view of Iran’s role in the region. We have concerns in a number of areas about Iran’s role. We’ve also said that with respect to Yemen, we have concerns about Iranian support for the Houthis. So – but I’m not going to draw a sweeping conclusion of the sort that you posited.
Yeah, yeah.

NDI Director's Remarks on rising tension btw US-Turkey Relations
QUESTION: I got couple other questions. Yesterday, Director of the National Intelligence on Wednesday, Mr. Clapper at the House committee, he was saying that because of the different ways of approaching the Syrian crisis, there is a tension rising between Turkey and U.S. bilateral relations. Would you be able to comment on this? How this tension is arising at the moment?
MR. RATHKE: Well, I haven’t seen those comments, so I’m not going to – I’m not sure that’s what the Director of National Intelligence intended. We’ve been cooperating for months in the fight against ISIL with Turkey across all the lines of effort. That includes, on the one hand, trying to stop the flow of foreign fighters, includes on the financial side; also includes on the delegitimization of ISIL as well as on train and equip. So we have a productive relationship with Turkey in the fight against ISIL, and we expect it to continue.

Letter from the Congress to Sec. Kerry on human rights in Turkey
QUESTION: There is a letter sent from Congressman Keating’s office to Secretary Kerry, also joined by Ed Royce, Mr. Engel, the ranking members of the House Foreign Relations Committee. It is about establishing a platform. Have you seen the letter, first of all? Do you establishing a platform between Turkey and U.S. regards to human rights problems and rule of law in Turkey. Have you seen that letter?
MR. RATHKE: Well, yes, we’re aware of the letter, which I think is dated today -- QUESTION: Yes.
QUESTION: -- from a from several members of Congress.
MR. RATHKE: As we’ve – you’ve asked about other letters from Congress in recent days. And we’ve made clear, first, that we will, of course, be responding to the letter. But more generally, as we’ve said in the past, we remain concerned about freedom of expression and the freedom of assembly in Turkey and so we have raised those concerns in addition to questions about due process.
QUESTION: There is a specific resolution or asking State Department establish this permanent platform between Turkey and U.S. Would you join or would you agree with this idea?
MR. RATHKE: Well, we just received the letter today.
MR. RATHKE: We’re going to look at it and we will, of course, be responding to it.

No comments: