ArmInfo.A bipartisan group of more than 180 US congressional representatives sent a letter to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken urging the Joe Biden administration to take a tougher stance on Turkey. The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) reports.
“As the Biden administration formulates its foreign policy towards Turkey, we ask you to pay attention to the alarming human rights abuses occurring under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey has long been a key US ally. Unfortunately, President Erdogan has strained relations between by our countries. Strategic issues are rightfully given considerable attention in our bilateral relations, but serious violations of human rights and the retreat from democracy taking place in Turkey are also a matter of serious concern, "the congressmen emphasized in their letter to Blinken.
At the same time, representatives of the US Congress stated that Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party, throughout their time in power, took consistent steps to weaken the judicial system in Turkey; appointing political allies to key military and intelligence positions; suppression of freedom of speech and freedom of the press; unlawfully imprisoned political opponents, journalists and representatives of national minorities.
"Since 2016, more than 80,000 Turkish citizens have been imprisoned or arrested, and more than 1,500 non-governmental organizations have been closed to suppress political opposition. Among those arrested on dubious criminal charges are three Turkish employees hired by the US State Department," the congressmen stressed, also reminding Blinken and an incident during the Turkish president’s visit to Washington in 2017, in which Erdogan’s guards attacked peaceful protesters and federal officials, but to this day they have not been punished for their actions.
At the same time, the congressmen pointed to the importance of changing Erdogan's behavior in the field of human rights in terms of further development and expansion of US-Turkish relations. “We hope that the State Department under your leadership and the Biden administration more broadly will raise concerns about human rights and democratic retreats in our bilateral relations,” the congressmen concluded.