NATO Chief Highlights Freedom of Expression in Turkey Protests

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, June 4, 2013

From Fatma Demirelli, Today’s ZamanNATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has called on Turkish authorities and anti-government protesters to ensure peaceful protests, saying freedom to express one’s political views is a democratic value embraced by the alliance.

Rasmussen, a former Danish prime minister who has clashed with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over freedom of press in the past, was cautious, saying he will not “interfere with domestic politics in Turkey” in response to a question from Today’s Zaman posed on the sidelines of a two-day meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels on Tuesday.

He then went on to say: “I urge all parties — official authorities as well as protesters — to ensure that manifestations of political views can take place in a peaceful manner. Obviously, it’s part of the democratic values on which the NATO alliance is based that people have the possibility to express their views freely and in a peaceful manner.”  (photo: NATO)

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