White House calls on Turkey to respect democratic values

By Asbarez | Friday, 18 March 2016

Spokesman Josh Earnest (Source: AP Photo)

Spokesman Josh Earnest (Source: AP Photo)

WASHINGTON(Agence France-Presse) — The White House on March 17 called on the Turkish government to respect democratic values, amid allegations of a fresh press crackdown.

“We urge Turkish authorities to ensure their actions uphold the universal democratic values enshrined in Turkey’s constitution, including freedom of speech, freedom of assembly and freedom of the press,” said spokesman Josh Earnest.

The government has been accused of muzzling critical media as well as lawmakers, academics, lawyers and non-government groups.

Turkish police early this month seized control of the top-selling Zaman, which opposes Erdogan, drawing international condemnation.

“The United States continues to be troubled by the Turkish government’s use of appointed trustees to shut down or interfere with the editorial operations of media outlets that are sometimes critical of the government,” Earnest said.

“We call on the Turkish government to ensure full respect for due process and equal treatment under the law, and in a democratic society, critical opinions should be encouraged, not silenced.”

On March 17, Turkey stood accused once more of violating press freedoms, this time by the German news weekly Der Spiegel, which said it has been forced to withdraw its Istanbul correspondent.

A diplomatic source told AFP the Turkish government was also refusing press cards to eight of some 20 German journalists based in the country, meaning they would likely also have to leave.