06:36 GMT02 December 2020
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    During his visit to Turkey, US Vice President Joe Biden slammed the government's rollback of the freedom of expression. Speaking with Sputnik, Asli Aydintasbas, one of the journalists who met with Biden during his visit, suggested that the veep's 'paternalist' rhetoric about democracy reminded her of the situation her country faced in the 1990s.

    Last week, US Vice President Joe Biden arrived in Istanbul, holding meetings with the country's leadership, the representatives of political parties and social organizations. Biden also met with Turkish journalists, discussing the government's crackdown on the freedom of speech, pressures being faced by the country's academics, and the situation in the south of the country faced by Turkey's Kurds.

    Aydintasbas, a journalist who attended Biden's meeting with journalists, shared her impressions on the meeting with Sputnik Turkey.

    "It was a very important meeting, especially when considering that during his time in Istanbul, Biden held just a few meetings, one of them devoted entirely to the issue of freedom of speech and of the press," the journalist noted.

    "We are obliged not to disclose the details of what was discussed," Aydintasbas noted. "Therefore, I will describe my impressions in the following way: recently, the questions of freedom of speech, the violation of civil rights and pressures on the media have come to the fore in Turkish-American relations. The position of the Turkish leadership in relation to democratic freedoms serves to weaken Turkey, and [therefore] is alarming to America."

    "Also coming to the fore is the problem connected to the fact that Turkey, which has compromised itself on the freedom of expression, the freedom of journalism, and democratic norms to such a large degree, is rapidly losing its position as a reliable ally in the eyes of the United States," the journalist said.

    Ultimately, Aydintasbas noted, "American rhetoric with regard to Turkey in recent years has begun to resemble the paradigm of the 1990s – specifically, 'the need to bring about democracy in Turkey', 'the undermining of Turkey's democratic institutions', and the idea that 'we [the US] need Turkey as an ally, and therefore cannot allow it to cause irreparable harm to itself'. I personally have noticed a return to this sort of 'paternalist' approach by the US toward Turkey," the journalist concluded.


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