Turkey Cracks Down On Journalists
Hillary Clinton conducted a whirlwind visit to Turkey on Saturday in her position as American Secretary of State. She urged the Turkish government to allow more freedom of political expression and legal protection of all its citizens. She also praised the rise of Turkey as a regional center of power. This visit takes place after Turkey cracks down on journalists recently.
“I do not believe it is in the best interest of Turkey to suppress journalists and try to shut down bloggers and the Internet, because I believe that Turkey is mature enough to allow for open debates”, she said in Ankara.
“When Turkey cracks down on journalists, I believe this is something that needs attention from the citizens of Turkey, as well as the lawyers, because this is not consistent with the other advances Turkey has recently been making,” she said.
Turkey is currently involved in accession talks to join the European Union. Clinton said that Turkey now should take the opportunity to stop restrictions of certain groups and improve legal protection for minorities in the country.
Turkey has started to take some steps to improve its record with gays and lesbians as it seeks to conform to EU human rights legislation.
On this visit, Clinton met with employees of the American Consulate, Turkish political leaders, and Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch. After the whirlwind visit to Turkey, Clinton flew on to Athens, Greece.
Secretary Clinton offered condolences for the deaths of thirteen Turkish soldiers on Thursday.
The Turkish government has blamed the violence on the Kurdistan Worker`s Party. Known as the PKK, the separatist organization is regarded as a terrorist group by officials in the Turkish government, as well as by the Americans and some other groups.
Clinton met with Prime Minister Erdogan and other Turkish leaders. She discussed the state of the economy and the growth of trade between Turkey and the US. She also discussed opportunities for women and young people in the country.
Clinton said that Turkey occupies an exciting location that straddles East and West.
In talks with the Foreign Minister, Clinton discussed Syrian unrest. Clinton stated that Syrian stability is important to Turkey. A move to a democratic system would be beneficial to Turkey as well as for the people of Syria.
During the last year, Turkey and the United States have improved their relationship and are working together on several international issues. The recent incidents where Turkey cracks down on journalists have caused concern in Washington and other places.
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