US State Department backs Ambassador Ricciardone's comments

US State Department backs Ambassador Ricciardone's comments

ISTANBUL- Hürriyet Daily News
US State Department backs Ambassador Ricciardones comments

U.S. State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland. Hürriyet photo

U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone said nothing new in critical comments levied against Turkey, U.S. State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland said in her daily press briefing Feb. 7.

“This is nothing new from our point of view. We have always been very clear on these issues before the public and during private meetings. Ambassador Ricciardone only repeated what [former] Secratary of State Clinton has already said, and I am sure that Secretary of State John Kerry will say the same things when he has the opportunity to speak in public on these issues,” Nuland told reporters.

Nuland added that the friends and allies of Turkey would continue to insist, with due respect, on the importance of improving human rights in Turkey. 

Responding to a question on the meeting between Ricciardone and Sinirlioğlu, Nuland said it would be more appropriate to ask this question to the Turkish Foreign Ministry.

During a recent meeting with Ankara media bureau chiefs, Ricciardone had criticized the arrests of military officers, non-violent protesters and professors on unclear charges. “You have your military leaders, who were entrusted with the protection of this country, behind bars as if they were terrorists,” he said, referring to hundreds of military officers behind bars as part of the ongoing  “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) and other court cases. 

“When a legal system produces such results and confuses people like that for terrorists, it makes it hard for American and European courts to match up. We are working to reconcile our legal processes in both countries,” he said.