WASHINGTON (Anatolia News Agency)—A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State said Thursday that Turkey had a strong democracy as well as a vibrant and free press, but the U.S. was still concerned about instances where journalists in specific cases were being intimidated.
During a press conference in Washington, Philip J. Crowley, assistant secretary for the Bureau of Public Affairs of the U.S. State Department, commented on Turkish Interior Minister Beşir Atalay’s recent remarks claiming that “Turkey was much more advanced than the U.S. in terms of freedom of press.”
Pointing to the reporters in the conference room, Crowley said: “Well, I should take a poll. I mean, if the Turkish media is broadly profitable, you could – well be ahead of, you know, some media in this country. I think many journalists in this country are trying to find a business model that is sustainable.”
Crowley said the U.S. strongly identified and supported universal rights and principles that included a free and vibrant press as being a critical pillar in a democracy.
“We recognize that Turkey has a very strong democracy. Having lived in Turkey, I can attest to the fact that Turkey has a very vibrant and free press. But we do stand by our statements that, you know, we are concerned about particular instances where it would appear that journalists in specific cases are being intimidated,” he said.
Upon questions about U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg’s visit to Azerbaijan and Armenia, and normalization of relations between Turkey and Armenia, Crowley said the U.S. wanted to see countries in the region resolve their differences and construct more normal relationships.
“We understand, over the last year or so, that the process has stalled,” he said.
“In these cases we can’t want something more than the countries themselves. But we certainly will continue to try to find ways to reduce tensions, help move these processes forward. But we understand that right now, you know, these are difficult situations,” the spokesperson said.