Tuesday, August 30, 2016

US State Department probably is not standing by Biden comments re expecting an execution in Turkey

For your reference, please find attached an indexed DPB, which will be available here.  
DPB # 151
Briefer: John Kirby, Spokesperson

John Kirby and Turkey's freedom of press questions
QUESTION: Today another 35 journalists there is a new detainment list about another 35 journalists in Turkey.

QUESTION: It is now about 150 journalists, according to estimates, since we don’t know the exact numbers, but this should be around that number. This more than combined of China, Iran, and Egypt. I was wondering if you have any comment on this.
MR KIRBY: I mean, we’ve seen these reports, and as we’ve said before, we – and frankly, what I’ve said earlier in this briefing, we obviously continue to support independent, free media reporting and freedom of the press all over the world, including Turkey. And we’ve talked a lot over the last several months about our concerns, about a growing trend in the wrong direction with respect to press freedoms and freedom of speech and freedom of assembly in Turkey.
Those concerns remain valid today.
Now, look, we understand, there was a very active and serious coup attempt in Turkey and that the Turkish Government has an obligation in looking after its own citizens to also fully investigate this coup attempt and to hold those responsible accountable. And so, as we’ve said before, we simply urge Turkish leaders, as they work through that process, they do it with all due respect for rule of law and for international obligations and human rights.

QUESTION: But you cannot imagine about 100 journalists will be involved in the coup. Is there a justification in your imagination that these (inaudible) journalist --
MR KIRBY: We’re not going to characterize the – every decision they make in the process of conducting this investigation, and you’re asking me to speculate about who was involved and at
what level, and we simply don’t have the information to make that kind of an assessment, nor would it be appropriate from this podium.

Is ''Biden: Someone executed, we speak up'' the US policy?
QUESTION: Last week Vice President Biden, after he left Turkey I think he was in Latvia and he was asked about why he withheld criticism regarding crackdown in Turkey, and Mr. Vice President said that since nobody has been tried or executed, there is no need for speak up; when that happens, we can speak up.
MR KIRBY: I think --
QUESTION: Is this the policy, that you are waiting for someone to be executed, then the speak
up more --
MR KIRBY: Our views, our perspective on these events in Turkey have not changed, not one bit. And I think I just articulated them in the answer to your last question. We understand they have an obligation to investigate. We have we understand and we appreciate they also have an obligation to their own citizens to hold those accountable for this. This was a potentially well, it wasn’t potentially. It was a violent and precarious, dangerous coup attempt, and real people suffered as a result of it. So they have an obligation to look into this and get to the bottom of it and to try to prevent that kind of thing from happening again. We understand that, and that hasn’t changed, and the Vice President wasn’t saying anything different than that.
We also, though, urge Turkey, as they work through that process, as I said before, to observe rule of law and due process in accordance with their own constitutional principles, and to observe international obligations and human rights as they work through that. And we’re in close touch with them and we will remain in close touch with them as they continue to work through that process. But there’s not – no change at all in terms of the approach that we’ve taken here. We condemned it that very evening – the coup attempt, that is. And again, we’ve – we were and we remain in close contact with Turkish authorities going forward.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) condemn these kind of a Turkish administration approach the freedom of press in Turkey and jail in these many --
MR KIRBY: I’m sorry?
QUESTION: Would you condemn also jailing this many journalists in Turkey? 
MR KIRBY: As I said before, Michel – I’m sorry, Michele. (Laughter.) 
MR KIRBY: I’m not going to get into the habit of characterizing each and every decision or each and every statement that comes out of Turkey.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) not about a statement.
MR KIRBY: No, it is.
QUESTION: This is being --
MR KIRBY: You’re asking me to --
QUESTION: -- happening for about two months.
MR KIRBY: You’re asking me to say whether I’m going to condemn the jailing of journalists. QUESTION: Yes.
MR KIRBY: They are conducting an investigation. I can’t begin to speculate here who was or who wasn’t involved in this and it wouldn’t be appropriate for us to do that. They’re doing this investigation and we understand they have to do that. We simply have urged them, in terms of process, how to go about doing that in a way that is thorough and complete, but also transparent and fair. And so we’re going to stay in close touch with them as they go forward, but we haven’t yet, and I’m not going to begin to make a judgment here from the State Department podium in Washington about every single decision that they’re making as they conduct that investigation.

QUESTION: So this is not about single decision. This has been going on for almost two months --
MR KIRBY: And we have --
QUESTION: -- and jailing for hundreds of journalists.
MR KIRBY: We have talked about I said it earlier our concerns about a worrisome trend in Turkey, before the coup, about limiting press freedom and about shutting down media outlets or detaining reporters. We’ve been nothing but honest and open about that, and in fact, I said the same thing again today to your first question. But if you’re asking me to condemn this specific decision, what I’m saying is we’re not going to get into characterizing each and every move they make as they investigate this. We’ve talked to them about process and what our hopes and expectations are for that going forward. And we’re going to stay in close touch on this. We’re watching it as closely as possible. 

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