Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Kirby: Turkey is a democratically elected government, not sure if democracy

Daily Press Briefing Index Wednesday, July 27, 2016 1:09 p.m. EDT
Briefer: John Kirby, Spokesperson

Qs & As w John Kirby

Gulen Extradition
QUESTION: Today Turkish prime minister said to Wall Street Journal that evidence is crystal- clear that Fethullah Gulen, exiled cleric here, is behind the coup. And he ask why the U.S. just can’t hand over this individual to us. Do you have a comment on this particular --
MR KIRBY: I haven’t seen those comments. But as we’ve said, we have received some materials from the Turkish Government, and those materials are being reviewed. I don't have an update for you on that process. 

Kirby: We have urged President Erdogan to show restraint
QUESTION: On Turkey, over the weekend there was a arrest warrant issued for 42 journalists, and just today there is another warrant for detainment of 47 journalists. And there are more lists are coming up, obviously. It looks like there will be hundreds more. There are about 15,000 people detained. These are official numbers. Over 60,000 people are sacked, suspended across Turkey. I was wondering, first of all, your comment. And second, you mentioned last week or Monday that Turkey should not take excessive actions after the coup. Do you think these actions are can be classified as excessive?
MR KIRBY: Well, we also said that we’re not going to get into the business of characterizing every decision every moment that it’s made. I think I would point you back to what the Secretary has said repeatedly, that we have been nothing but strong in expressing our grave concern about the failed coup. We have been nothing but strong and candid in condemning that failed coup and condemning the coup attempt, not the fact that it failed, obviously and expressing our unequivocal support for the democratically elected civilian government of Turkey. The President himself strongly condemned the failed coup attempt and expressed U.S. support for Turkish democratic institutions. He thanked Turkish authorities for their continued support in ensuring the safety and well-being of our diplomatic missions and personnel, American servicemen and women who are there, and civilians our civilians throughout Turkey. And, of course, we have urged President Erdogan to show restraint, to act within the rule of law, to avoid actions that would lead to further violence and instability. We obviously support bringing the perpetrators of the coup to justice and we also continue to stress the importance of upholding democratic principles and the rule of law through the process.

Kirby: Journalist detainments continuation of what I’ve talked about as a troubling trend in Turkey
QUESTION: Okay. So about these journalists over hundred journalists. From here, do you think this many journalists can be involved with the coup? Do you think this can be realistically happened?
MR KIRBY: Well, look, I these kinds of actions – and we’ve talked about this in the past, our concerns over press freedoms. I think we would see this as a continuation of what I’ve talked about as a troubling trend in Turkey, where official bodies law enforcement and judicial are being used to discourage legitimate political recourse – I’m sorry, discourse, legitimate political discourse. I mean, we’ve been I think very consistent about that.

Other reports blue:
Kirby: US urged Turkish authorities for a dedication to rule of law
QUESTION: Can I follow up on that? Do you believe that the current Turkish Government is systematically dismantling the institutions of society, including the judiciary and the press, that can serve on as a check on the powers of the executive?
MR KIRBY: I think I’m going to have to point you back to what I’ve said here just a few minutes ago. The – we’re not going to characterize each and every move as they occur. What we’ve been – I -
QUESTION: I’m talking about the whole thing.
MR KIRBY: What we’ve – what we’ve been very consistent on is condemning the coup attempt, the attempt by military force to overthrow a democratically elected government. I think our position was crystal clear on that since that night. And we’ve also, in conversations with Turkish authorities at various levels, urged restraint, a dedication to rule of law, and the democratic principles that have upheld the elected government in Turkey already.
But again, I’m not – and we’re obviously watching and – developments there and we’re staying in touch with Turkish authorities. Our ambassador has been in near constant communication with his counterparts in the Turkish Government. And I just don’t know that we’re going to be able to characterize it any deeper than that.

Kirby: Turkey is a democratically elected government, not sure if democracy
QUESTION: John, knowing your vast knowledge about the world affairs and all, most of the dictators in history have been democratically elected. Do you feel you are still saying Turkey is still a democracy when all this purging is going on?
MR KIRBY: Again, Tejinder, it is a democratically elected government, and it was a government that at least some elements of the Turkish military attempted to overthrow. There’s obviously an investigation going on by Turkish authorities to figure out exactly what happened here, and how it could happen. We, as I said at the outset, understand the need for them to be able to get their arms around this failed coup and to hold the perpetrators to account. We’ve said that again from within the first hour or two of it happening. We’ve also said, and continue to believe, that a measured, deliberate approach to that that is that observes the rule of law and due process is important. And we continue to make those concerns known. 

Qamishli Massacre
QUESTION: Thank you. One Syria-related question before transitioning to Turkey. Today, there was a suicide bombing in Qamishli, a Syrian Kurdish city, which killed about 50 and injured over 100. Want to see – I think ISIS already claimed that, if you have any comment.
MR KIRBY: Yes. Thank you. We certainly condemn in the strongest terms today’s reprehensible terrorist attack that killed scores of civilians in Qamishli, Syria and we extend, of course, our deepest condolences to all the families of those that were killed, and, of course, our thoughts and prayers for those who have been injured. This attack, once again, displays the type of horrific atrocities that Daesh has perpetrated against tens of thousands of innocent people across Syria and Iraq and only affirms – reaffirms, I should say – international resolve to strengthen our efforts to degrade and defeat Daesh and to support those who are also working to degrade and defeat Daesh. And that resolve remains unchanged, wherever they might be in the world.
Now, on the details of it, I just don’t have – I’ve, again, seen the same reports. We have no reason to doubt the veracity of the claims of responsibility by Daesh, and I – as for further details on it, I’d have to point you to authorities there.

1 comment:

Kevin in Chicago said...

What answer were you hoping for? This?

"Well, the US government actually believes that President Erdoğan is an unprincipled, lying bastard bent on securing his dictatorship over Turkey, but since the US can't prevent that without doing what the US has been wrongly accused of plotting to do, namely overthrowing him, and harsh criticisms will be gloatingly rejected as contempt for Turkey and Islamophobia, we have to keep making the same lame generalizations. What else are we supposed to do?"