U.S. 'takes note' of YSK decision to rerun Istanbul election - State Dept.
U.S. State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said the United States had taken note of the the Turkish Supreme Election Council (YSK)'s "extraordinary decision" to rerun the Istanbul elections in the Trump administration's first on-the-record statement on the ruling.
"Free and fair elections and acceptance of legitimate election results are essential for any democracy", said the first official statement on the issue from Trump administration on Wednesday, the third day since the controversial ruling was announced.
A U.S. State Department spokesperson delivered Washington's first remarks on the cancellation of Istanbul elections on Tuesday in response to a question from Ahval, saying the Trump administration was studying the situation in Turkey.
Wednesday's statement ended by saying,
Turkey has a long, proud democratic tradition. We urge Turkish authorities to carry out this election in keeping with its laws, and in a manner that is consistent with its OSCE commitments, its status as a NATO Ally, and its aspirations for membership in the European Union.
The statement does not express any opinion of the U.S. government whether it sees the YSK ruling as justified, in contrast to strong statements by numerous European Union leaders who condemned the decision and lamented it as a grave mistake.
"What does 'taking note' mean, really? The statement is written in a way almost as if to say the United States is supporting the decision. There is nothing in it", a prominent U.S. expert on Turkey told Ahval in response to the statement.
"We understand US is very busy with other issues, one of leading State Department's official oversees Turkey is in Bosna Hersek, but what exactly does this mean? They should have just skipped releasing a statement", the expert said.
In an opinion piece published on Wednesday, Eli Lake of Bloomberg called on the U.S. government to make its concerns known. Lake wrote,
There is currently widespread support within Turkey to check Erdogan’s consolidation of power. American support for Turks who oppose the AK Party’s electoral chicanery is a smart bet: Not only would it preserve credibility with the government that comes after Erdogan, but it would also weaken a president who has become an unreliable ally.