US urges Turkey to ‘live up to its democratic values’

US urges Turkey to ‘live up to its democratic values’

NEW YORK – Doğan News Agency
US urges Turkey to ‘live up to its democratic values’ Washington urges Turkey to respect a vocal opposition and to “live up to its own democratic values,” State Department Spokesperson John Kirby has said, responding to a question on the Oct. 28 seizure of media outlets owned by the Gülen-linked Koza-İpek Group. 

“We continue to urge Turkish authorities to respect not just media freedom but the political process, which includes a vocal opposition. We want to see Turkey continue to live up to its own democratic values enshrined in its own constitution,” Kirby stated during his daily press briefing on Oct. 28. When asked specifically about the police raid on the Koza-İpek Group media HQ in Istanbul, which hosts Kanaltürk TV, Bugün TV, daily Millet and daily Bugün, Kirby stressed the importance of acting in accordance with international legal standards including “full respect for due process and equal treatment under the law.”

During the briefing, a reporter said “Turkey did not seem very concerned that [the U.S.] is concerned,” and inquired whether the U.S. would take any further action. 

“We think the [Turkish] approach is clearly not one that we believe is in keeping with their own democratic values. I can just tell you that we’re going to continue to make that concern known both privately and publicly,” Kirby responded. 

An Ankara court decided on Oct. 26 to appoint a trustee panel to Koza İpek Holding after the Ankara 5th Court of Peace said a panel was “necessary to assign managers with full control to prevent crime and to protect evidence in a case in which reports have revealed that this company has helped and been involved in the activities of an organization titled FETÖ/PDY [an alleged terrorist group made up of sympathizers of U.S.-based Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen], which is said to have attempted to topple the government.”

On the morning of Oct. 28, Turkish police used water cannon and tear gas to forcefully enter the headquarters of Koza İpek’s media group in Istanbul. 

Breaking down the iron gates of the media group’s compound, the police unplugged the wires and halted the TV stations’ live broadcasts, escorting the newly appointed trustees into the building after scuffling with hundreds of employees and supporters of the Koza-İpek Group gathered outside in support.

After the channel’s broadcast cut to black, Bugün TV editor-in-chief Tarık Toros was forcefully removed from the building and was handed a letter stating that he had been removed from his post.