December 15, 2014

US urges Turkey to protect democratic values after media raid

The United States State Department called on Turkish authorities to protect media freedom and other democratic values in response to media raids and detentions in operations across Turkey on Sunday.

The State Department was closely following reports of the raids and arrests, and media outlets that have been openly critical of the current Turkish government appeared to be among the targets of the actions by Turkish law enforcement, spokeswoman Jen Psaki said.

"Media freedom, due process, and judicial independence are key elements in every healthy democracy and are enshrined in the Turkish constitution," Psaki said in a statement. "As Turkey's friend and ally, we urge the Turkish authorities to ensure their actions do not violate these core values and Turkey's own democratic foundations."

Turkish police raided media outlets close to a US-based Muslim cleric and detained 24 people including top executives and ex-police chiefs in operations against what President Tayyip Erdoğan calls a terrorist network conspiring to topple him.

The European Union had earlier condemned the raids in EU-aspirant Turkey. In an unusually strongly worded statement, it said the raids were incompatible with media freedom and ran counter to European values.

Published on Today's Zaman, 15 December 2014, Monday