Ricciardone stresses rights for new charter

Ricciardone stresses rights for new charter

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Ricciardone stresses rights for new charter

Ricciardone voices hope that Turkey and Israel will be able to mend ties. AA photo

United States Ambassador Francis Ricciardone has called on Turkey to ensure stronger guarantees for individual rights and freedoms in the new constitution that a cross-party parliamentary panel is drawing up.

“We encourage and support Turkey’s efforts to more clearly define the state’s duty to protect the rights of the citizen, including protecting fuller freedoms of expression and belief,” Ricciardone said yesterday at a meeting organized by Rotary, adding that Turkey was aiming for the highest world standards for a modern democracy. The ambassador had previously angered the government when he raised questions about media freedoms in Turkey following the imprisonment of journalists.

Ties with Israel
In response to questions posed by Rotary members, the ambassador voiced hope that Turkey and Israel would be able to mend fences after their relations plunged into crisis when Israeli forces killed nine Turks on the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara ship in 2010. “We urge both friends to do everything possible to overcome the conflict that nourished over the terrible incident now two years ago and get back to a productive, normal level of communication,” he said.

Countries may have differences but addressing them through state-to-state, people-to-people relations is important, Ricciardone said. “We would very much wish to see Israel and Turkey find a way to get back to those official relations, official conversations. It is in both Turkey’s and Israel’s interest, certainly in America’s interest as allies and friends of both countries. We will do all we can to help, but the resolution has to come between these two countries and their leaders,” he added.