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U.S. Stands With Turkey

A Turkish special forces policeman stands guard in front of a damaged building inside the special forces policemen base which was attacked by the Turkish warplanes during the failed military coup last Friday, in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, July 19, 2016. The violence surrounding the Friday night coup attempt claimed the lives of 208 government supporters and 24 coup plotters, according to the government. Turkey says Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Muslim cleric, was behind the coup and has demanded his extradition. Gulen has denied any knowledge of the failed coup. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Secretary Kerry also urged the Government of Turkey “to uphold the highest standards of respect for the nation’s democratic institutions and the rule of law."

The United States stands with the democratically-elected government in Turkey, after an attempted military coup that took place on July 15 and 16.

According to the Turkish government, over two hundred people were killed during the failed attempt, and more than 1400 were injured.

At a news conference in Brussels, Secretary of State John Kerry called Turkey a NATO ally and a key partner. “We stand squarely on the side of the elected leadership in Turkey,” said Mr. Kerry, noting that both he and President Barack Obama had stated their support for the democratically-elected Erdogan government as the attempted coup began to unfold.

But Secretary Kerry also urged the Government of Turkey “to uphold the highest standards of respect for the nation’s democratic institutions and the rule of law. We will certainly support bringing the perpetrators of the coup to justice, but we also caution against a reach that goes well beyond that and stress the importance of the democratic rule being upheld.”

Thousands of people in the military, the judiciary, and other areas have been detained in Turkey in the aftermath of the coup.

The Erdogan government has raised the concern of the United States and other countries over a crackdown on journalists and opposition media outlets. In May, State Department Spokesperson John Kirby urged the government “to abide by its constitutional and OSCE commitments to fundamental principles of democracy, including due process, judicial independence, and freedom of expression. These principles are key elements of every healthy democracy and are enshrined in the Turkish constitution,” Mr. Kirby had said.

At a press briefing this week, State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner emphasized that there is no justification for the attempted overthrow of a democratically-elected government like Turkey, and he reiterated U.S. support for the Erdogan government. Mr. Toner noted, however, that in the aftermath of political upheavals, there can be an impulse by countries to overreach, and he urged Turkey’s leaders to remain mindful of the democratic values they and the Turkish people hold dear.

Reflecting the Views of the U.S. Government as Broadcast on The Voice of America