Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy On Assault on Press Freedom in Turkey Senate Floor

U.S. Senator Patrick Joseph Leahy
U.S. Senator Patrick Joseph Leahy


Date posted: March 20, 2015

U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy*

Mr. President, I have spoken many times on the Senate floor in defense of press freedom because it is a fundamental cornerstone of a democratic society. Today I want to briefly draw the Senate’s attention to the situation in Turkey, one of the many countries in the world where this basic right is under threat by officials in the government who seek to silence their critics.

Recently, in the latest assault on press freedom, Turkish police arrested and detained nearly two dozen members of the news media, including Ekrem Dumanli and Hidayet Karaca, two prominent journalists who are well known to be affiliated with Fethullah Gülen, a vocal critic of President Erdogan. The sweeping charges levied against them were not only intended to stop their criticism, but to intimidate anyone who is critical of the Turkish Government. While Mr. Dumanli has since been released, Mr. Karaca remains in prison.

This case reflects a broader pattern of repression in Turkey, where targeted reprisals against outspoken critics have become a common practice for that government. In fact, Reporters Without Borders ranked Turkey 154 out of 180 nations for press freedom in its 2014 World Press Freedom Index, and Turkey has consistently been among the top jailers of journalists, along with China and Iran. This latest censorship continues the abuse of the Turkish penal code and further erodes what remains of press freedom in Turkey.

Not only are these actions inconsistent with the norms and values expected of Turkey, a NATO ally; they violate Turkey’s own commitments under international law, foment further dissent, and serve to affirm the allegations being made against the Erdogan Administration. I am disappointed with the backsliding from democracy that we have seen in Turkey, and I am concerned that it will weaken our important strategic partnership in the region. I join the many government officials, advocates, journalists and others who have called for a prompt resolution of these cases, and an end to the Turkish Government’s jailing of people for exercising their right to free expression. The international community and people of goodwill everywhere expect better from the government of that great nation. The people of Turkey deserve better.


* Patrick Joseph Leahy is the senior United States Senator from Vermont

Source: Senator Leahy's webpage , March 17, 2015


Related News

Turkey, ‘The Devil’s Advocate’ and ‘Titanic’

Questions to challenge the primary and unjustified premise: What judicial (or other) process determined that these corruption investigations were a coup attempt against the government? What proof or evidence do you have to support this most serious claim? What disciplinary process did you undertake to determine that the people that were purged were members and culprits of this ‘coup’? In the absence of evidence and disciplinary process how did you determine these people’s association with Hizmet? When is government corruption not a judicial coup? How can you have the right to unilaterally determine the intent and purpose of these ongoing judicial investigations when your government is implicated in them? If your government can purge over 7,000 police officers (and thereby affect and prevent these investigations) without evidence, due process or disciplinary procedure, do you not set a precedent for every future potentially corrupt government to follow?

Kurdish initiative should not be suspended by provocative acts

TUĞBA MEZARARKALI/MEHMET TAYANÇ, BINGÖL The final declaration of a recent symposium on Turkey’s Kurdish issue, attended by Turkish and international academics, authors, politicians and leading thinkers, says that Kurdish initiatives aiming to resolve Turkey’s long-standing Kurdish problem by meeting some of the Kurdish people’s demands should not be suspended due to provocative acts. Organized by […]

Peace Islands Institute Awards Recognize Excellence

By Tasmin Mahfuz The Peace Islands Institute of New Jersey held their annual awards dinner to recognize the accomplishments of 6 remarkable individuals in different walks of life. More than 200 people joined to celebrate the achievements of their colleagues and community members, including NJ State Senator Bob Gordon. “The Peace Islands Institute does a […]

Did they make mistake?

We are experiencing a period of turmoil in which we strongly need the supremacy of law, the presumption of innocence and the individuality of criminal offenses. A grave campaign instead is being carried out to insult and denigrate millions of people. Why would the Hizmet movement consider forming a parallel state within the state given that its members hold no intention other than Allah’s will? Considering that democratic options are available for seeking positions within the state, why would people within the bureaucracy strive for greater political power?

8-year-old cancer patient denied passport due to father’s alleged links to Turkey’s Gülen group

Ahmet Ataç, an eight-year-old kid with stage four bone cancer, has reportedly been denied a passport by Turkish authorities due to the his father’s ongoing imprisonment over alleged links to Turkey’s Gülen group.

The anti-thesis of radical Islam

The Hizmet movement is Turkey’s strongest civil Islamic movement, and it can employ social dynamics to resist the AK Party. The race for the local polls slated for March 30 is between the AK Party and the Hizmet movement, not between the AK Party and other political parties.

Latest News

Crimes Against Humanity in Erdogan’s Turkey

Exiled journalist warns of a genocide in the making in newly released book

Vague terrorism charge used to target supporters of the Gülen movement: UN special rapporteurs

ECtHR urges Albania not to deport Gülen follower to Turkey

Woman detained over links to Gülen movement after giving birth

Formerly Gülen-linked schools in Albania face growing gov’t pressure

Exclusive: Turkey, Kosovo violated fundamental rights of expelled teachers, UN body says

Sacked policeman’s grim death sparks debate on COVID-19 data in Turkish prisons

Dissidents of the Turkish government are living in fear in Canada

In Case You Missed It

AK Party Deputy Hakan Şükür resigns due to hostile moves against Hizmet movement

Cancer patient arrested over Gülen links shortly after surgery

Turkish Cultural Center In Greenburgh Collects Coats, Blankets For Refugees

What do people say about corruption, gov’t and Hizmet?

New university in Pakistan with Turkish collaboration

Ex-ministers call on gov’t to abandon efforts to shut down Turkish schools

Fil-Turkish gives out beef amid terror threats

Copyright 2021 Hizmet News