US ‘Concerned about Quality of Democracy in Turkey’

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The Turkish President has decided to get along with the US and even discuss the level of democracy in the country after the Pentagon carried out missile strikes in Syria.

US ‘Concerned about Quality of Democracy in Turkey’

Spokesman for the US State Department, Mark Toner (Photo: Reuters / Joshua Roberts)

According to spokesman for the US State Department, Mark Toner, Washington is concerned about the level of democracy in Turkey and is conducting talks with the country’s government on this issue. The remarks were made on Thursday, just before the referendum on constitutional amendments, which should be held on Sunday.

“I’d just say we’re obviously following this issue very closely. As I said the other day, we are concerned about the quality of Turkey’s democracy,” Toner said at a regular press briefing. “These are discussions that we have on a somewhat regular basis with the Turkish government. Because we’re strong allies and partners, we can have those kinds of conversations.”

Talking about a report of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which pointed to “limitations” during the campaigning for the “no” votes, the spokesman referred to his statements on April 11.

“We’re looking at that and studying it very closely … We hope the referendum is carried out in such a way that guarantees and strengthens democracy in Turkey,” he said. “We never want to see, as part of any kind of free and fair electoral process, any kind of limitation on all sides to express their views peacefully,” Toner added.

In this way, the situation looks like Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has decided to get along with its “strong ally and partner” from the West, right after this partner carried out missile strikes in Syria, and even to discuss the country’s democracy with it. However, it seems that the Turkish President just forgot that in fact, his country does not have real democracy.

The US State Department spokesman also mentioned Andrew Brunson, the evangelical Presbyterian pastor from North Carolina, who was arrested in Turkey in December 2016.

“We have asked Turkish officials to consider releasing Mr. Brunson from custody, subject to whatever judicial conditions or controls may be appropriate while his legal case is resolved,” Toner said. “He’s been in detention far too long and this has been done with other individuals under investigation. Of course, we call on the Turkish authorities to resolve his case in a timely and fair manner, respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the protections of a fair trial guarantee that are necessary for his defense,” he added.

The spokesman stressed that the US will continue to offer “whatever support we can to Mr. Brunson and his family.”

Brunson was accused of membership of the so-called Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETO), founded by US-based preacher Fethullah Gulen, who, according to Ankara, was the orginizer of the failed coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016.

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