US cautions Turkey on 'punishing protesters exercising their right to free speech'
WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
U.S. State of Department Spokeswoman Jen Psaki said that Washington supported a solution through dialogue. AA photoThe United States on June 15 cautioned Turkish authorities against seeking to punish any demonstrators merely for exercising their right to free speech in the latest of several statements that have been addressed during the ongoing Gezi Park protests.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United States had been following the events "with great concern." "We're troubled by any attempts to punish individuals for exercising their right to free speech, and we condemn attempts by any party to provoke violence," she told reporters.
"We believe that Turkey's long-term stability, security and prosperity is best guaranteed by upholding the fundamental freedoms of expression, assembly, association and a free and independent media. And we expect the Turkish authorities to uphold those freedoms," she also added.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has met today with representatives of demonstrators after a night of heavy clashes on the Taksim Square which has become the focal point of the protests.