Nafiz Albayrak / New York, Sep 9 () - The U.S. State Department on Sept. 8 condemned attacks targeting Turkish daily Hürriyet's offices.
"I'm concerned by reports that the protest against Hürriyet Daily was encouraged by members of the Justice and Development Party. Elected officials must be careful not to appear to encourage violence against media outlets" U.S. State Department Spokesperson John Kirby told reporters.
Hürriyet’s Istanbul headquarters and Ankara offices were pelted with stones by club-swinging protesters on Sept. 8, less than 48 hours after a similar attack by Justice and Development Party (AKP) supporters.
Here is the full text of the section about Turkey in the press conference's transcript, according to the State Department:
QUESTION: Over the weekend, one of the largest newspaper headquarters in Turkey was attacked by the government supporters and organized by AKP deputy. U.S. embassy in Ankara (inaudible) too, but I was wondering if you have anything more than a tweet.
KIRBY: Well, we've seen the reports, obviously, and we call on Turkey to respect the media freedoms and due process protections that are enshrined in the Turkish constitution. They are key elements in every healthy democracy.
I'm concerned by reports that the protest against Hürriyet Daily was encouraged by members of the Justice and Development Party. Elected officials must be careful not to appear to encourage violence against media outlets.
QUESTION: One of the Vice reporters, the third one, is still in the custody over two weeks now, and another foreign journalist just detained for over two days, I believe.
I was wondering if the U.S. government is worried, or have some increased concerns over the crackdown on press freedom in Turkey?
KIRBY: We have consistent concerns about press freedoms around the world, and as I've just said, we've expressed our concerns about this most recent incident against Hurriyet. The quality of Turkey's democracy matters to us. We expect Turkish authorities to uphold Turkey's core values, democratic foundations, and universally recognized fundamental freedoms. And that's a -- that 's a point that we make all around the world. And we will continue to do so.
QUESTION: The final one, have you asked this to the Turkish government of this horrific event?
KIRBY: Well we don't -- if you know, we don't talk about the specifics of diplomatic conversations. But since I'm talking to you here at the podium, in real time, I think it's safe to say that -- you know, we're -- our points clear, candidly and openly.
QUESTION: So you said the quality of Turkey's democracy matter to us?
QUESTION: How would you rate that quality right now?
KIRBY: I'm no in a position to judge it, I'd be say...
QUESTION: Well how can you say that it matters to us...
KIRBY: It does matter to us...
QUESTION: How are you prepared to make a statement...
KIRBY: It does matter to us and...
QUESTION: Poor? Fair?
KIRBY: I'm not getting into this.
KIRBY: I'm not...
QUESTION: Grade A? Grade B?
QUESTION: Well why don't you look back at your previous comments and acknowledge that they have not been so positive lately.
KIRBY: I have said that Elise. We've noted -- we've noted that there's been challenges there. We note that publicly, we're candid about that.
QUESTION: So you say...
KIRBY: But I'm not going to give them a grade...
QUESTION: Less than perfect? What kind of -- I mean you say that...
KIRBY: We recognize that there are still...
QUESTION: Well you pretty much said yourself...
KIRBY: There are actions...
QUESTION: ... that there's a poor quality.
KIRBY: There are actions that the -- that they're are taking, which in our view don't comport with their own core values, as mentioned in their won constitution.
. . .
KIRBY: Well again, we continue to condemn these terrorist attacks against Turkish officials. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Turkish soldiers and police that were killed. We understand, you know, Turkey has a right, like every country, to defend itself against terrorist attacks, and we want them to do that in a responsible way.