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Turkish opposition warns: Basic freedoms at risk

WASHINGTON — The Turkish opposition has warned the United States of a decline in democracy under the government of Prime Minister Recep Erdogan.


A delegation of the Republican People's Party spent several days in late March with U.S. officials and members of Congress in a discussion about the future of Turkey. The delegation, led by the deputy of the opposition party, Osman Koruturk, focused on the decline of democracy in Turkey rather than such issues as Cyprus and Armenia.

"Being subject to these sorts of questions did not please us," Koruturk said.

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The delegation, which also included former Turkish ambassador to the United States Faruk Logoglu, met senior State Department officials as well as Sen. John McCain, Middle East Newsline reported. Other meetings were with members of the pro-Israel lobby.

"We have been welcomed with great interest," Koruturk said.

In a briefing on March 29, Koruturk said Washington was increasingly concerned over the loss of media rights as well as human rights violation under the Erdogan government. He also cited the arrest of about 200 military officers and journalists on charges of plotting to overthrow the government.

"We have been asked questions about constraints with regard to the freedom of press, fundamental freedoms and deleting unpublished books," Koruturk said. "We haven't been asked these kind of questions in the past."

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