U.S. AMBASSADOR WARNED OVER MEDIA COMMENTS
- Published:17 Şubat 2011, Perşembe
- Updated:17 Şubat 2011, Perşembe
Turkish officials have warned the new U.S. Ambassador Francis Ricciardone against interfering in its domestic affairs after he commented on Turkey detaining reporters despite pledging support for press freedom.
Prominent journalist Soner Yalcin and three colleagues were detained this week and were due to appear in court on Thursday in connection with an alleged plot to overthrow the government.
"On the one hand there exists a stated policy of support for a free press. On the other hand, journalists are put under detention. We are trying to make sense of this," Ricciardone told reporters on Tuesday.
Commenting on the case of Yalcin, owner of a website which is fiercely critical of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government, he said he did not know what the charges were and that this was a domestic matter for Turkey.
His remarks drew a barrage of criticism from several Turkish officials. Huseyin Celik, deputy chairman of the ruling AK Party, said there was a line that ambassadors should not cross.
"Of course, ambassadors cannot interfere in our internal affairs. They can't design our domestic policy. They have an area designated for them on this subject," he said in comments widely reported by Turkish newspapers on Thursday.
State Minister Egemen Bagis, Turkey's chief negotiator in talks with the European Union, said the United States had itself detained reporters in the past for not revealing their sources.
"The ambassador is very new. His comments about Turkey are not linked to his knowledge and experience, but what he has heard," Bagis was quoted as saying.
"There are journalists in his own country who are in jail for not revealing news sources."
Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc joined the chorus, saying it was a matter for the courts if journalists were involved in illegal activity unrelated to freedom of expression.
"Maybe the esteemed ambassador must serve a bit longer to see this detail," Arinc said.
U.S. President Barack Obama appointed Ricciardone as ambassador to Turkey -- a U.S. ally -- at the end of December.
Turkey has pushed through a series of political reforms with the aim of securing EU membership, but rights groups remain critical of its record on freedom of expression.
Turkish courts are hearing a series of cases on alleged coup plots and journalists are among those detained.
The latest trial of nearly 200 serving and military officers in the alleged "Sledgehammer" plot reflects a lingering mistrust between the traditionally secular establishment and a ruling party that critics say retains Islamist leanings.
U.S. diplomats have come under fire before. Erdogan has accused Ricciardone's predecessors of slander following several cables leaked by the WikiLeaks website. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley defended the ambassador's remarks during a briefing on Wednesday. He said: "We do have broad concerns about trends involving intimidation of journalists in Turkey, and we have raised that directly with the Turkish government and we'll continue to do so."
- Police pinpoint vandals in protests from surveillance footage
Security forces are currently inspecting all footage captured on Mobese city surveillance cameras in an effort to pinpoint provocateurs responsible for looting retailers or public property. The cost of the damages incurred will be compensated directly by the individuals responsible themselves.
- The final stage of withdrawal
While the withdrawal of the PKK continues, as part of the ongoing resolution process, two-thirds of the terrorist organizations armed members have already evacuated Turkish territories and are now in Iraq.
- U.S. Ambassador Ricciardone reaffirms trust with the AK Party
The United States, which commented on the Gezi Park protests a total 17 times on four different television stations, initiated a surprise meeting yesterday between the U.S. Ambassador to Turkey and Prime Minister Erdoğans Chief Advisor Yalçın Akdoğan.
- President Gül: The Gezi Park project is on hold, the protests should stop
The messages have been received, stated President Gül, who also called for an end to the street demonstrations. The president also delivered a message to Alevi citizens who are objecting to the name given to the Third Bosporus Bridge by stating, We could name another big project after Pir Sultan Abdal.
- Finance Minister Şimşek: It is difficult to comprehend why British intelligence would monitor a minister
Finance Minister Şimşek commented on allegations reported in The Guardian that he was monitored by U.K. intelligence, by stating that Foreign Ministry officials are taking the necessary measures.
- There is no censorship in Turkeys democracy
While England is rattled by the censorship scandal in the national press, AK Party Spokesman and Deputy Chairman Hüseyin Çelik has announced that there will be no censorship on social media or classic media as Turkey, which now has a mature democracy, has left such issues long in the past.
- Criminal complaint against Hüseyin Aygün
AK Party Istanbul Deputy Bülent Turan has filed a criminal complaint with the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor against CHP Tunceli Deputy Hüseyin Aygün for insults in the virtual realm and for inspiring public hatred, enmity and degradation.
- Who is it that incites social crises in growing economic nations such as Mexico, Brazil and Turkey?
The innocent protest which began at the start of the month in Brazil, as it did as well in Turkey, has since transitioned into a point of interest for its dark demonstrations. Both nations, as they suffer from simultaneous protests, stand out for having bright and promising economies.
- We have learned lessons from these events and will prevent any disintegration
Prime Minister Erdoğan stated on Tuesday that the Gezi protests are part of a professionally organized operation and vowed to hold those behind the events accountable by law. The Prime Minister also said that the police in Turkey have passed the test of democracy.
- Our democracy was not harmed in these attacks
Responding to the European Parliament resolution condemning the police crackdown on protests sparked by redevelopment plans for Gezi Park, Prime Minister Erdoğan stated They are confused. They have no fidelity, and added that European politicians and institutions instantly laid down their masks in order to provoke events.
- Standing man!
One mans passive defiance by way of standing in place in Taksim Square and looking straight at the Atatürk Culture Center, quickly turned into a social media phenomenon last night.
- What is Claudia Roth doing in Taksim?
Infuriating Germans, Green Party Co-Chair Roth was subjected to pepper spray in Istanbul. Commenting on the incident, German nationals say, It turns out Erdoğan was right in saying that there are foreign forces triggering Taksim, and Roths presence is now proof. Other comments include, If Abdullah Gül showed up at Occupy Frankfurt of if Erdoğan was involved in the Stuttgart 21 demonstrations, the ground would shake!
- In just one day Taksim gets 20 trees and 152,000 flowers
The Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality has been working continuously since last night on clearing and landscaping Taksim Square and Gezi Park.
- EU Minister Bağiş: Every crisis has made Erdoğan stronger
Explaining that the Gezi Park protests were planned six months ago, EU Minister Bağış states, These protests are an attempt to trigger a move which will end in regime change in Turkey. Bağış also discussed Prime Minister Erdoğans style with the Wall Street Journal.