US Congressmen send Kerry letter about Turkey’s crackdown on Gülen-linked media
Tolga Tanış WASHINGTON
REUTERS PhotoEighty-nine members of the U.S. Congress have written a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry about Turkey’s crackdown on media organizations linked to the U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.
“We are deeply concerned by the recent arrests in Turkey of members of the Turkish media. A strong democracy requires both tolerance and transparency in order to thrive, but this decision by the Turkish government to intimidate, arrest, and smother voices opposed to the government is a threat to the very democratic principles that Turkey claims to hold dear,” the Feb. 4 letter said.
The members of the U.S. House of Representatives noted that Ekrem Dumanlı, editor-in-chief of daily Zaman, and Hidayet Karaca, CEO of Samanyolu Media Group, were arrested on Dec. 14, 2014. The letter described the charges against a total of 29 press and media personalities as “questionable.” The Congressmen also recalled that allegations of corruption were levied at the “Erdoğan administration” one year prior to the arrests.
“In addition to previous attempts to silence the opposition, these recent arrests have had a chilling effect on freedom, democracy and economic prosperity for all of Turkey,” the letter said, urging Kerry “to reach out to President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan and his administration to encourage a peaceful and appropriate resolution to these cases” against the media linked to his erstwhile ally Gülen.
“As a strategic ally to the United States in the Middle East and key member of NATO, we wish to see the Turkish government abandon this course of intimidation and embrace a free press and tolerance of dissenting voices. It is our priority to encourage the Turkish government to fulfill the responsibilities and obligations to their own people,” the letter concluded.