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Statements by U.S. Officials

A Strong Voice for the Future

September 13, 2010

Remarks by Assistant Secretary Philip J. Crowley


At the September 13th daily press briefing, Assistant Secretary and Spokesman P.J. Crowley said that Turkey’s referendum vote “ was an opportunity for the people of Turkey to have a strong voice in the future direction of their vibrant democracy. There was a very large turnout. We hope that through these reforms, it will further enhance Turkey’s democratic processes and human rights protection.” 

The complete excerpt is below:

QUESTION:  P.J., on Turkey, have you got anything to say about the referendum which happened yesterday?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, this was an opportunity for the people of Turkey to have a strong voice in the future direction of their vibrant democracy. There was a very large turnout. We hope that through these reforms, it will further enhance Turkey’s democratic processes and human rights protection.

QUESTION: So do you disagree with the secularists’ notion that the changing of the way the judges have the authority to issue it is actually sort of deflating or defanging the judiciary from its ability to oversee the executive?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, again, this was a choice for the Turkish people, and there was a very strong, decisive vote to move towards greater civilian oversight of these democratic institutions. We respect that statement by the Turkish people. And we hope that the government will, again, use this mandate to deepen democratic processes in Turkey as well as guarantee human rights protections.

QUESTION: They also accused the Justice and Development Party that has accused parliament to drive a hidden Islamic agenda. What is your assessment of that?

MR. CROWLEY: Well, I mean, there – I understand that there are historical forces competing in Turkey, but again, this was a very strong statement by the Turkish people as part of a referendum where they had the opportunity to lend their voice to the future direction of their country. We respect that.

QUESTION: Have you heard that this will help the Turkey to join the EU?

MR. CROWLEY: We certainly encourage Turkey’s membership in the EU, and I think we note that there has been a favorable reaction in Europe to these developments.