Turkey-US Relations Strained by Coup Attempt
The strategically critical U.S.-Turkey relationship is coming under increasing strain as authorities in Ankara crack down on alleged coup plotters and sympathizers.
Washington is caught between expressing alarm about increasingly authoritarian measures being taken under Turkey's state of emergency and showing support for a democratically elected government that fought off a military putsch.
A further source of irritation is persistent rumors in Turkey that the United States played a role in the attempted coup, something State Department spokesman John Kirby characterized on Thursday as “ludicrous.”
Turkey’s government has ordered more than 130 media outlets - TV channels, radio stations, newspapers and news agencies - to close, and approximately 90 journalists have either been arrested or ordered detained.
“We’re obviously deeply concerned,” said Kirby, who continued to stress that “Turkey matters to us as a friend and ally, and their democracy matters to us.”
About 1,700 military personnel have been dismissed, including 150 generals and admirals suspected of ties to the unsuccessful putsch.
Ankara is a critical American ally in the fight against the so-called Islamic State group operating in Iraq and Syria, both of which border Turkey, a NATO member.
UN Human Rights Expert Says Racism Keeping US from Living Up to Its Ideals
Racism, and social and economic inequality are keeping the United States from living up to its ideals, including the right to freedom of assembly and association, a U.N. human rights expert says.
Special Rapporteur Maina Kiai reported on his 17-day visit to the U.S. Thursday, where he visited several large cities including Baltimore, Washington, New York, and Philadelphia.
"People have a good reason to be angry and frustrated at the moment," Kiai said.
He said while his fact-finding missions are not supposed to include issues of race, it was impossible to carry out his tour of the U.S. without racism coming up in the discussions.
Kiai said understanding racism means looking back on 400 years of U.S. history which included slavery and legal segregation that marginalized African-Americans, subjecting millions to lives of "misery, poverty, and persecution."
While slavery is long-since dead and segregation illegal, Kiai says discrimination in the U.S. is now cloaked in different language such as "the war on drugs" and "three strikes" sentencing policies that include long jail terms for even minor crimes.
He says it makes finding good jobs and quality housing difficult for many African Americans.
Kiai said the "justifiable and palpable anger in the back community over these injustices" gave birth to the Black Lives Matter movement that has grown after a series of deadly police shootings of young black men.
He also criticized the situation of migrant workers in the U.S., saying they are exploited and fearful of taking action to improve working conditions because of possible retaliation.
But Kiai said the U.S. is a nation of "struggle and resilience" and that its civil society is one of the country's greatest strengths.
The Obama administration has not yet commented on Kiai's report, which will be presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council next June.