Thursday, October 08, 2015

US State Department Spox Kirby's Turkey statements explained

Briefer: John Kirby, Spokesperson

US Spox John Kirby's response to my question on Thursday:

Red snippets to explain Kirby's remarks made by me.

QUESTION:  Thank you.  There are three weeks left in Turkey for next election – repeat elections.  And only within 24 hours, if I try to count here how many cracks down on Turkish press happen, I think it would take a lot of time.  My question is whether you have any issue or you are concerned that this coming election within just three weeks may not be as transparent or under the regular, normal circumstances because of the opposition maybe is under this huge crackdown.

MR KIRBY:  As I’ve said before, we’ve seen reports of the ban particularly on some media, some TV channels.  
Mr. Kirby references here the biggest digital platform for broadcasting, Digiturk and another similar platform's Tivibu's droppings of critical TV channels in recent days. Most of these TVs affiliated with the Gulen Group.

As I said before, we’re concerned by the increasing number of investigations into media outlets for criticism of the government and for accusations of allegedly disseminating terrorist propaganda. 
Mr. Kirby mostly likely referring to recent investigations into Hurriyet, one of most influential newspapers in Turkey.

We’re also concerned by the aggressive use of judicial inquiries to curb free speech.
Hundreds of Turkey's citizens, including journalists, activists, Kurds and Alevis are investigated by courts for allegedly insulting president Erdogan. This number "insulting president" cases now believed to be close to 1000 only after 13 months that Mr. Erdogan has been president.

We call on Turkey, as we have in the past, to respect the media freedoms and due process protections that are enshrined in the Turkish constitution itself.
Indeed, US State Department has been calling on Turkey to respect freedom of press dozens of times in recent months.

And obviously, we want to see free, fair, credible elections there. 
US shows it has worries about the circumstances in Turkey and whether the elections will be held with universal standards.

We want to see the voice of everybody in Turkey involved in shaping their own future.
Something I never heard from the US State department

That’s important to us.  And more critically, we believe it’s important for the Turkish people.

QUESTION:  It’s fair to say you are concerned, then, about --
MR KIRBY:  I just said we remain concerned by these reports.

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