Kerry Warns Turkey to Uphold Rule of Law

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WASHINGTON—U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry warned that Turkey must uphold the rule of law in the wake of the July 15-16 attempted military coup, if it wants to remain a part of the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance (NATO).

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (Photo: LBJ Library)

“[W]ith respect to NATO and the movement of Turkey, obviously, NATO also has a requirement with respect to democracy, and NATO will indeed measure very carefully what is happening. And my hope is that Turkey is going to move in ways that do respect what they have said to me many times is the bedrock of their country,” Kerry said during a press briefing on July 18.

Kerry said that he has spoken to Turkey’s foreign minister three times in the last days, and that the minister assured him that Turkish authorities “fully intended to respect the democratic process and the law.”

Kerry noted that scores of people had been arrested “very quickly” throughout the country and that the level of vigilance and scrutiny would be significant in the days ahead. “[W]e’ll work very closely, and hopefully we can work in a constructive way that prevents a backsliding, and that is our hope,” Kerry said.

Commenting on Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s blaming of soldiers linked to the Gülen Movement and its spiritual leader and exiled cleric Fethullah Gülen, Kerry said the U.S. had received no official request for extradition. “President Erdogan, obviously in his public comments the other day, called on the United States to return him to Turkey. I made it clear to the foreign minister there is indeed a very formal process for that, and there has to be a formal extradition requirement–request submitted through the appropriate channels, legal channels,” Kerry said.

Kerry also said that he urged Turkey’s foreign minister to make certain that in whatever request is sent, that there be included substantial evidence and not merely allegations. “We need to see genuine evidence that withstands the standard of scrutiny that exists in many countries’ system of law with respect to the issue of extradition. And if it meets that standard, there’s nothing, there’s no interest we have in standing in the way of appropriately honoring the treaty that we have with Turkey with respect to extradition,” said Kerry.

Source: Armenian Weekly
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