Kirby reiterates support for Turkish gov’t, urges respect for rule of law after coup attempt
REUTERS photoU.S. Department of State spokesperson John Kirby has again stressed that the U.S. backs Turkey’s democratically elected government in the aftermath of the failed coup attempt, but urged Ankara to abide by the rule of law during the post-coup investigation.
Kirby also stressed that detentions of journalists during this process is regarded by Washington as a continuation of a “troubling trend” in the NATO ally.
Questioned on whether the government’s crackdown on individuals and institutions alleged to be linked to the Gülen movement, which is accused of masterminding the July 15 coup, should be regarded as “excessive,” Kirby referred to previously remarks on the issue by Secretary of State John Kerry and President Barack Obama.
“I think I would point you back to what the secretary has said repeatedly. 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 … 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 Turkey’s democratic institutions,” Kirby said.
“Of course, we have urged President Erdoğan 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,” he added.
Asked whether it is “realistic” that “over 100” journalists either detained or arrested had been involved in the coup attempt, Kirby said the current situation regarding the media in Turkey should be considered “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 discourse.”