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Rep. Pascrell Condemns Turkish Government Takeover of Opposition Newspaper

U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ-09) released the following statement  following a Turkish court decision last week allowing state takeover of media outlets, and police raids of the Istanbul offices of Zaman, a major, high-circulation daily newspaper in Turkey, late on Friday. State-appointed trustee have replaced operational and editorial personnel, while some of the paper's journalists are being charged with crimes against the state.

"The United States must take the actions of Turkey – our friend and NATO ally – very seriously,” said Rep. Pascrell. “Freedom of speech and of the press are not ideals, but practical rights that cannot and should not be distorted. I want to express my support for a clear and direct message to our ally: limiting journalistic independence, restricting freedom of speech, and eroding basic human rights is unacceptable."

Last April, Rep. Pascrell sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry in opposition to Turkey's human rights violations, including press censorship and detainment of members of the media. In the letter, Rep. Pascrell asked Secretary Kerry to engage Turkish leaders and encourage adherence to human rights guidelines and the ideals of free democracies. Letter available in PDF here:

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