ISTANBUL (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, chiding a NATO ally whose support is critical to American goals in the Mideast, said Saturday that Turkey must act on concerns about backsliding on human rights and its secular traditions.
Speaking politely but firmly about the moderate Muslim nation, Clinton said the recent arrests of dozens of journalists and curbs placed on religious freedom were "inconsistent" with Turkey's economic and political progress.
She said Turkey should recommit itself to the course of modernization and embrace the democratic institutions of statehood. By doing so, Turkey could serve as a model for Arab nations now in the midst of revolt or transition, America's top diplomat said.
"Across the region, people in the Middle East and North Africa are seeking to draw lessons from Turkey's experience," she told reporters at a news conference with Turkey's foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu. "Turkey's history serves as a reminder that democratic development also depends on responsible leadership."
She called on the Turkish people to use their constitutional reform process to "address concerns ... about recent restrictions on freedom of expression and religion" and boost protection for the rights of minorities.
Those concerns have stalled Turkey's bid to join the European Union and further cement ties with the West. Clinton noted that the U.S. long has backed Turkey's EU membership...Um, she does know that there's no love lost between Ottomans and Arabs, and that Turkey's Erdogan is an egregious Islamist whose new curbs on freedom are fully consistent with sharia, right?