U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby has named a recent court decision to appoint a board of trustees to Zaman media group “troubling,” as he urged Turkish authorities to “ensure their actions uphold the universal democratic values.”
“We see this as the latest in a series of troubling judicial and law enforcement actions taken by the Turkish government targeting media outlets and others critical of it,” Kirby said March 4 while responding to a question on the court decision earlier in the day.
“In the wake of moves earlier this week by government-appointed trustees to shutter media outlets owned by the Koza İpek Holding Company and the filing of insult charges against journalists representing other outlets, we call on the Turkish government to ensure full respect for due process and equal treatment under the law,” he said.
“Court-ordered supervision of a media company's finances and operations should not prompt changes to the newsroom or editorial policy. As Turkey's friend and NATO ally – and we do count ourself as a friend of Turkey and we certainly are a NATO ally – we urge Turkish authorities to ensure their actions uphold the universal democratic values enshrined in their own constitution, including freedom of speech and especially freedom of the press. In a democratic society, as I've said many, many times, critical opinions should be encouraged, not silenced” the spokesman said.