DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
Briefer: John Kirby, Spokesperson
QUESTION: On Turkey?
MR KIRBY: Really? Surprising. Turkey, out of you. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: John, I know you had a statement about the Iranian journalist in the beginning. I don’t know if you had a statement for Turkish journalist who sentenced to two years jail for publishing Charlie Hebdo cartoons. This was – just happened today.
MR KIRBY: Let me see. I think I might have something on that. While I’m looking for that --
QUESTION: I’ve got a whole bunch of little ones.
MR KIRBY: Okay. Well, then let’s wait.
QUESTION: A follow-up on Turkey.
MR KIRBY: A follow-up? I haven’t even answered the first one on Turkey. (Laughter.) What are you following up on? Holy cow. (Laughter.) Following up on me saying I’m going to look. All right.
Turkish Government to ensure that official bodies are not used to undermine the Turkish democracy.
So we continue to defend freedom of speech, as you know, and freedom of expression in Turkey and around the world. We also understand and respect that some have strong feelings about depictions of religious figures. We’ve said that before too. As Turkey’s friend and NATO ally, we urge the Turkish Government to ensure that official bodies, law enforcement and judicial authorities, are not used to undermine the Turkish democracy.
Media organizations should have the freedom to use their independent professional judgment when determining what they publish. These are complicated issues – of course we know that – but ultimately ones that journalists have the right to make themselves. And frankly, that’s what we’re doing here every week is kind of reminding all – not that you need reminding, but reminding everybody else in the world that we stand by that principle.
Turkey democracy not vibrant anymore but ''fully capable of living up to its own constitution''
QUESTION: I wonder if you still think that the Turkish democracy – if you still think the Turkish democracy is vibrant as you --
MR KIRBY: We still think that it is fully capable of living up to its own constitution and to the aspirations of the Turkish people, and we want to see it succeed. We want to see Turkey succeed. And the reason why we worry about freedom of expression issues and press freedom there is because we don’t believe that’s the best path to success is to repress the freedom of journalists to do their jobs.
US: We continue to raise this at every juncture, as appropriate
QUESTION: Are you finding new ways to convince Turkish Government to change this course since it seems like it is failing very badly?
MR KIRBY: We continue to raise this at every juncture, as appropriate. And as I’ve said in the past, this is a worrisome trend that we see there, which is all the more reason why we continue to speak out.
I’ve really got to go. I’m going to --