Francis J. Ricciardone, the recently appointed U.S. ambassador to Turkey, said at a reception in Ankara on Tuesday that he did not understand how Turkish journalists could be detained while both the government and the opposition talk about the importance of freedom of speech.
Speaking to journalists who asked him his thoughts on the recent raid by the police to Oda TV offices and the detention of four journalists, among them the prominent oppositionary journalist Soner Yalcin, Ricciardone said: "Turkey wants a free press. Turkish people want a critical press even if it is a dissident one. The opposition parties and the government say they support freedom of the press. We are following the process closely. Journalists are being detained on the one hand, while addresses about freedom of the speech are given on the other. We do not understand this. The Turkish people's opinion is important. That is why we are asking you". The Ambassador added that freedom of the press, freedom of speech, along with independent and transparent judicial process are vital for democracies.
Source: Hurriyet, Cumhuriyet, Turkey, February 16, 2011