US says concerned over the arrest of CHP deputy Berberoğlu in Turkey

CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu

US State Department has stated its concerns on Friday over the arrest of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People Party’s (CHP) deputy Enis Berberoğlu by saying that “We’re concerned about the greater pattern of what we see as Turkish official actions that we believe appear to target people whose views differ from the views of certain members of the government.”

Former journalist and CHP deputy Berberoğlu was sentenced to 25 years in prison last week for leaking information for a report on National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks transporting weapons to jihadists in Syria.

In response to a question about the arrest of CHP deputy Berberoğlu, Heather Nauert, the Spokesperson of the US State Department has said in a press briefing that “We are still trying to gather information on that case of the jailed opposition politician. We’re concerned about the greater pattern of what we see as Turkish official actions that we believe appear to target people whose views differ from the views of certain members of the government. So, that is an area of concern, and that is something that we just continue to talk to that government about.”

In response to a question stating that there are over 170 jailed journalists, more than a dozen deputies in the Turkish jails, Nauert said that “To your first point about the jailing of reporters, we continue to talk about this, and that is freedom of expression. We believe in freedom of speech and freedom of the media, even speech that some nations and some leaders find to be uncomfortable.

“So that is something that the United States will continue to push for. We believe that that strengthens democracy and that that needs to be protected, whether it is in Turkey or in other nations as well. And we continue just to urge the Turkish Government to respect and ensure freedom of expression, fair trials, a judicial independence, and other human rights and functional freedoms. So, we continue to say that to them.”

Turkey is the leading jailer of journalists in the world. The Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has documented that 263 journalists are now in jails as of June 24, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 239 are arrested pending trial, only 24 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 105 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt.

June 24, 2017

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