US Ambassador Bass visits Cumhuriyet in support of arrested journalists Dundar and Gul

Bass said the US was concerned about the arrest of the journalists and stated that US officials had shared these concerns with top-level Turkish officials in previous meetings.

After he entered the newsroom, Bass first apologized for disrupting the journalists as they were working before saying, “I just wanted to stop by and say hello and tell you how much my colleagues and I at the embassy admire the work you do and how important we believe the work you do is for strengthening the quality of democracy in Turkey.”

“As you know, the United States believes strongly that freedom of speech and freedom of the press are essential elements of any strong, healthy, vibrant democracy. Good journalism sometimes means making information available to the wider population that some people in a society might not want the whole population to know about. But we believe that even when the good work that journalists do makes the US government uncomfortable, we still support the right of journalists to be able to do that work and make us uncomfortable. Obviously, not everyone has that same belief about the importance of journalism, and sometimes that means you find yourselves under pressure. I’m sure that makes it difficult to be in the newsroom on certain days. But I just want you to know, as I said at the outset, we believe strongly in the work you do and believe strongly that the work you do is very important to the quality of democracy,” Bass added.

Before he left the office, Bass told the journalists present that he looked forward to reading what they had to say in their stories the following day. “I was telling some of your editors that I’m sure it’s a busy news day because every day in Turkey is a busy news day. It’s always valuable to us to be able to read your take on what’s happening because it helps us understand what’s happening in this society,” Baas further said.

Dundar and Gul were arrested on Nov. 26 on charges of “espionage,” “revealing confidential documents” and “membership in a terrorist organization” in May after publishing a report claiming that weapons-loaded trucks that were discovered in 2014 en route to Syria belonged to the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and had been sent to provide support to rebel groups.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN