Ilhan Tanir
Jan 11 2018

US sees "positively" the top court ruling of Alpay and Altan, but "remains concerned"

A U.S. State Department spokesperson has stated that "the United States notes positively the reports of the release from detention of journalists Şahin Alpay and Mehmet Altan." 

Earlier on Thursday, the Turkish Constitutional Court ruled to release two journalists from jail. This, according to several lawyers who talked to Ahval, could be "a very significant moment, likely to set a precedent for long-term, pre-trial detentions in Turkey."

However, the State Department spokesperson added that the U.S. still "remain[s] concerned at the continued detention of many other journalists in Turkey, who it appears are often targeted for expressing views differing from the government’s."

Over 150 journalists are now imprisoned in Turkey, more than in any other country in the world. Turkey has led the world in the number of jailed journalists for two years in a row, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, (CPJ), throughout an unprecedented crackdown that has included the closure of more than 100 news outlets.

A spokesperson from the State Department stated that the U.S. "firmly believe[s] that freedom of expression, including for speech and the media—even speech which some find controversial or uncomfortable—strengthens democracy and needs to be respected and protected."

The U.S. State Department said in an email to Ahval that it urged "Turkey to respect and ensure freedom of expression, fair trial guarantees, judicial independence, and other human rights and fundamental freedoms".