Thursday, August 04, 2016

US says it's "watching closely.. the scope of (Turkish) government’s crackdown"

Office of the Spokesperson

For Immediate Release
For your reference, please find attached an indexed DPB, which will be available here.  
DPB #137
Briefer: Mark Toner, Deputy Spokesperson

QUESTION:  Turkish media reporting the Secretary will go to Turkey later this month.  Is that true?
MR TONER:  Nothing to announce in that regard.

US is assessing whether received extradition request
QUESTION:  Could you tell us exactly where the U.S. is in the issue of the extradition process of Mr. Gulen?  As you may have seen, a Turkish court has issued what they call an international warrant against Mr. Gulen.  Do you see this as the former – formal, sorry, extradition request?
MR TONER:  So my understanding of where we are with the extradition request is that we’ve been – or that the Turkish authorities have delivered – I think made several deliveries of documents to us and that we’re in the process of going through those documents.  As you know, we don’t – and we’ve said this previously – we don’t speak publicly about the details of the extradition request process.  It’s not something that is necessarily an overnight process.  It takes time to evaluate the evidence that’s presented.
I think at this point – my understanding at least, having talked to my colleagues at the Department of Justice, is that they’re still trying to make a determination of whether the documents that were delivered to them do constitute what they believe is a formal extradition request.  And I realize there’s some – the rhetoric coming from Turkey is that they have made a formal request.  I think and I believe, in fact, that we’re still trying to assess that.

US: First extradition request was not qualified, looking into second
QUESTION:  So your position has not changed in two weeks?  You still don’t know if or you don’t say – you cannot say if it’s a formal --
MR TONER:  Right.  We’ve received – as I said, we’ve received documents.  We’re studying those documents.  And we talked about an initial tranche that we had received from them that did not, we believe, constitute a formal extradition request.  But we subsequently received more documents.  We’re looking through them, and I think they’re trying to figure out whether this is the full request.  And I don’t think they have reached that determination yet.

US: Unsure if any coup evidence tying to Gulen presented
QUESTION:  The second tranche of documents, does that involve evidence related to the coup itself?  Because the first one I think was based on investigations from before the coup.
MR TONER:  You are correct, I think, on the first thing.  In terms of the second tranche, I don’t know.  I think they’re still trying to assess whether that’s the case.  I don’t have a specific readout on what – whether those documents pertained specifically to Mr. Gulen’s involvement in or alleged --

QUESTION:  Well, I mean, is there any – have they supplied any evidence directly related to the coup?
MR TONER:  Yeah, I don’t know, honestly.

US: Not sure if we necessary share our assessment re Gulen's involvement
QUESTION:  After three weeks, do you have more of a understanding how the coup happened in Turkey, whether your own assessment, whether the documents from Turkey?  But your own assessment; do you think this Gulen movement or Fethullah Gulen have anything to do with the coup?
MR TONER:  I mean, it’s a fair question.  I’m not sure that we would necessarily share our assessment.  I think that – well, a couple things.  One is, as we’ve done from the very beginning, we condemn the failed coup in Turkey, and we also have rejected and continue to reject any attempt to overthrow the democratically elected government in Turkey.  We support that government wholeheartedly as a strong ally and partner in the region.
In terms of assessing who was behind the coup, I know the – we all know that Turkish authorities are looking at that very closely and investigating it.  That’s a matter for them to reach a conclusion about.  I don’t have any specific conclusions to draw at this point.

US: Emphasized the importance of upholding the democratic institutions
QUESTION:  While Turkish authorities are investigating this, shut down – Turkish authorities shut down hundreds of media organizations; about 66,000 people are sacked and about 20,000 people are arrested.  These numbers can be a little different. And President Erdogan today said this is only the tip of the iceberg; they just starting to – do you – how are you assessing so far Turkish Government’s action, whether you see them excessive actions, as was questioned here?
MR TONER:   So – and we’ve conveyed this publicly as well as privately in our conversations with our Turkish counterparts.  Indeed, as you said, the President spoke with President Erdogan shortly after the coup attempt, and Secretary Kerry has spoken with his counterpart, Foreign Minister Cavusoglu, several times as well.  And we made very clear we understand the need for them to go after the alleged perpetrators of this coup; but at the same time, we’ve emphasized the importance of upholding the democratic institutions and the rule of law that exists in Turkey and the importance of that to the Turkish people and to the integrity of Turkey’s democracy.

QUESTION:  But you see these moves as signs that a major purge is underway, maybe a major purge that cuts across all institutions and aspects of Turkish society?
MR TONER:  I mean, I think what I’ll – I’ll leave it at this.  I would say we’re watching developments there very closely, and we’re making very clear that the Turkish Government – again, while we understand the basis for its actions – that it also bears in mind that it must hold true to its democratic standards.

US involvement claims just absurd
QUESTION:  No, I just wanted to say that all – almost everybody in Turkey agrees or thinks that the United States had something to do with the coup.
MR TONER:  Well, and I – when he asked me about our conclusions, I didn’t want to offer that up there, but that’s completely absurd.  And I’m – we’re conscious of the fact that after an event like this there’s lots of conspiracy theories, lots of allegations tossed about, but the suggestion that the United States was in any way involved in the attempted overthrow of the government – the democratically elected government of a NATO ally, a major NATO ally, is just absurd.

US: Ask Henri Barkey if he is involved
QUESTION:  Today, New York Times ran an editorial and it was then – there is a question that it’s asking what to do with a vital ally that is veering far from democratic norms.  This is the one question.  And in same editorial, also it talks about the former State Department official, Henri Barkey.  And it says that evidence against Barkey – when the coup erupted in Turkey, he was on the Istanbul island holding a workshop for academics and made some phone calls.
My question is whether former official Henri Barkey has anything to do with the coup as far as --
MR TONER:  I’d have to ask you to contact him directly.  He’s a former official.  I don't know that he plays any official role.  I have no idea what his involvement may or may not have been.  I just don’t have any details on that.

US says it's "watching closely.. the scope of (Turkish) government’s crackdown"
QUESTION:  The first question, the question about the vital ally that’s veering far from democratic norms – what to do with such ally?
MR TONER:  Well, again, I think that there has been concern expressed by many organizations, by many leaders around the world about the scope of the Turkish Government’s efforts to go after the alleged perpetrators of this coup attempt.  We’re obviously watching it closely.  We’ve been consulting closely with our Turkish counterparts at every level, and indeed, General Dunford was just there this past week and met with his counterparts.
We want to continue, obviously, to cooperate closely with Turkey as a NATO ally and as a major counter-Daesh coalition partner.  We don’t want to see a disruption to those efforts, because frankly, ISIL/Daesh is as much a threat to Turkey as it is to Europe, as it is to the United States, as it is to the region.  So we all need to focus on the immediate goal of going after and maintaining the pressure on Daesh.  We’ve made tremendous progress, but we want to keep that pressure on.
But as to the extent or the scope of the government’s crackdown, if you will, after the coup, we’re watching it closely.  We’ve expressed our thoughts about it to our Turkish counterparts and we’re going to maintain that dialogue with them going forward.

1 comment:

Kevin in Chicago said...

It's a useful service to post these exchanges, in which US spokespersons are repeatedly invited to express well-deserved criticisms of Turkey's democracy demolition, which they predictably decline. It's a nice inversion of the American expression, "talk turkey," meaning to discuss hard facts. But maybe you should change the title of this blog to "Washington Pointless."