Tuesday, June 4, 2013

U.S. Sen. Murphy statement on protests in Turkey

In a prepared release, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, D-Conn., chairman of the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs,  today issued this statement on recent protests in Turkey, "calling on the government to allow peaceful demonstrations and freedom of speech by the Turkish people:"
 The statement is as follows, unedited here:

What began as peaceful demonstrations in Turkey have been met with excessive force by police and escalated to frightening scenes of violence and destruction.

The rights to assemble peacefully and speak freely are pillars of an open, modern democracy. As President Gul recently said, “Democracy does not mean elections alone…There can be nothing more natural for the expression on various views, various situations and objections through a variety of ways, besides elections.” Turkey has been a critical and valued ally of the United States, but our alliance suffers when Turkey does not fully respect the right of its people to protest and speak freely. 

As Turkey makes strides to form a truly inclusive democracy, it must allow peaceful protests and refrain from the use of excessive force against its people. It must also accept freedom of speech as a fundamental right, whether in the streets or on social media. Equally important is that the protestors refrain from violence as well, and petition the government through non-violent resistance alone. 

History shows that is the most effective means to achieve long term change. 

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