Friday, February 18, 2011

Turkey Arrests Opposition Journalists Amid Furor

by AK Group

U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Francis Riccardone held a reception last night to meet prominent people in Ankara. Asked about Sledgehammer case, he said: "We are watching very carefully and closely. We expect the trial period to be transparent and in accordance with the law." He said he did not understand how Turkish journalists could be detained while at the same time public speeches about freedom of expression are made.

Regarding the recent raid on news web portal Oda TV, which is a staunch critic of the current government, Ricciardone said he did not know about the charges against the site or any details about the matter.

"Turkey wants a free press. Turkish people want a critical press, even if it is a dissident one. The opposition parties and the government say they support freedom of the press. We are following the process closely. Journalists are being detained on the one hand, while addresses about freedom of the speech are given on the other. We do not understand this. The Turkish people's opinion is important. But freedom of the press and freedom of speech are vital for Turkey, the United States and the people of this region," Ricciardone said.

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