DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
FRIDAY, JUNE 17, 2015
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
My Qs and As w Briefer: John Kirby, Spokesperson
QUESTION: Thank you, John. Just today, the governor of Istanbul declared that he has banned LGBT individuals from holding a pride march which has been held over a decade in Istanbul peacefully at the heart of Istanbul and is just coming after apparently Orlando attack. Do you have a comment? What do you think of this?
MR KIRBY: I don’t know that I’ve – look, let me put it this way: We’ve seen the reports that the governor of Istanbul will not allow the pride parade. We strongly support, as I think you know, the rights of LGBTI individuals to assemble peacefully and to exercise their freedom of expression, and we would certainly like to see that be able to happen in Istanbul.
QUESTION: Okay. This is basically another part of the human rights erosion that happening in Turkey. It has been happening for a while. How worried you are about the direction of the democracy in Turkey?
MR KIRBY: We’ve talked about this before. Obviously, we’re troubled when we see Turkish leaders make decisions that are not in keeping with their – the democratic principles that are enshrined in their own constitution. Turkey is a friend and an ally. We want to see Turkey succeed. We believe that one of the best ways for Turkey and the Turkish people to succeed is to live up to those democratic principles, and we – yes, it concerns us when we see decisions like this and trends towards closing down freedom of expression, as we’ve seen in Turkey of late. It’s deeply concerning.