US spokesperson denounces Erdoğan’s accusations, expresses ‘concern’ on press freedom in Turkey
AFP PhotoThe U.S. State Department spokesperson on June 4 commented on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent denunciations of journalists, the “Armenian lobby,” the LGBTI community, and the international media.
Speaking at the State Department’s daily briefing, Marie Harf again expressed the U.S.’s “concern” on press freedom in Turkey, also denouncing Erdoğan’s recent claim that homosexuals, Armenians and journalists are involved in “sedition” to weaken and divide Turkey.
“When it comes to journalists, certainly the U.S. supports freedom of expression. We remain concerned about government interference in freedom of expression in Turkey. We’ve said that for a long time and we remain concerned. An independent and unfettered media is an essential element of any democratic and open society. As, I think, Turkey’s friend and NATO ally, we urge the Turkish authorities to ensure their actions uphold democratic values, including due process, judicial independence, and freedom of expression, including access to media and information,” said Harf.
She also commented on the president’s recent accusations against the international media, reiterating the necessity of the press freedom in the country.
However, Harf refrained from speculating on the country’s June 7 general election and the connection of Erdoğan’s criticism to the election process.
Along with journalists, Armenians and gays, Erdoğan has also singled out the New York Times, CNN and the BBC of trying to weaken Turkey and disintegrate it in line with instructions issued by what he calls the “superior mind.”