US looks to Turkey to uphold checks and balances

The United States has stated that it expects Turkey to uphold the principles of the rule of law and separation of powers as well as the independence of the judiciary in Turkey.

“We look to Turkey to uphold the essential elements of a healthy democracy such as the rule of law, an independent judiciary and the system of checks and balances between branches of government,” said US State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki in a daily press briefing on Monday.

When asked by a reporter to elaborate further on US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, Amanda Sloat’s remarks at the 34th Annual Turkish American Conference on Saturday that the US was deeply concerned over the allegations that the government has been interfering in the judicial system in Turkey, Psaki replied, “We remain deeply concerned about due process and effective access to justice in Turkey. Independent investigations and independent judicial processes are essential for the rule of law.”

Psaki stated that the US has previously raised this issue and that it was also included in the US annual Human Rights Report.

“I’m still not weighing into internal political matters in Turkey. But certainly, as we’ve expressed in the past, over a variety of events, when there are concerns to express about the independence of the judiciary, we’ll express those,” added Psaki.

The sons of three ministers, among others, were detained as part of a graft investigation, which was later halted by direct government intervention. This led to criticism from many foreign officials that separation of powers was no longer being respected in Turkey.

Also, Turkey’s ban on Twitter and YouTube has hurt Turkey’s international standing, while corruption allegations implicating close allies of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have undermined its appeal for foreign investors, the US ambassador in Ankara said in remarks published recently.

The government blocked access to Twitter and YouTube after a series of leaked recordings of conversations involving government ministers, senior officials, members of Erdoğan’s family and the prime minister himself were published online in the wake of a corruption scandal that erupted on Dec. 17 with a wave of detentions.

Most of the recordings appeared to provide evidence of corruption, while a more recent leak of a high-level security meeting allegedly exposed a confidential discussion on preparations regarding the Syrian war, including a possible false-flag operation that might trigger a war with Turkey’s southern neighbor.