WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, released the following statement Friday on the ongoing situation in Turkey:
“I would like to offer my condolences to the Turkish people for the deaths, injuries and destruction that befell them during the failed coup one week ago. I stand with the democratically elected government of Turkey and the thousands of Turks across the nation who took to the streets to show solidarity against the coup plotters and in support of their democratic country.
“In a democracy, change is accomplished through the ballot box, through dialogue and debate, and with respect for differing points of view. Attempts to force change violently on the institutions of democracy outside the electoral process is wrong. I condemn the coup in the strongest terms.
“The short term crisis may be over, but the longer term test now begins for Turkey’s democracy. The rule of law, due process, a free media and an active civil society are all critical elements of any resilient democracy. I implore the government to prioritize these tenets.
“I am concerned about the scope and speed of the detentions and arrests being carried out across Turkey. Clear evidence must be presented against anyone charged with the serious crime of participating in the coup.
“I thank the Government of Turkey for ensuring the safety and security of U.S. personnel and facilities. Going forward, I urge the Government of Turkey not to lose focus on the shared interests and values that are the foundation of our two countries’ partnership: commitment to democracy, the Counter-ISIL Coalition, responding to the refugee crisis and alleviating humanitarian catastrophe, and promoting broader Middle East stability.”
“I will continue to monitor the situation closely in Turkey.”