Istanbul, December 7, 2015
AMB. BASS: First off my apologies for not being able to do all this in Turkish and my apologies for disrupting you when I’m sure you’re close to deadline. I just wanted to stop by and say ‘Hello’ and tell you how much my colleagues and I at the Embassy admire the work you do and how important we believe the work you do is for strengthening the quality of democracy in Turkey.
As you know, the United States believes strongly that freedom of speech and freedom of the press are essential elements of any strong, healthy, vibrant democracy. Good journalism sometimes means making information available to the wider population that some people in a society might not want the whole population to know about. But we believe that even when the good work that journalists do makes the U.S. government uncomfortable, we still support the right of journalists to be able to do that work and make us uncomfortable. Obviously, not everyone has that same belief about the importance of journalism, and sometimes that means you find yourselves under pressure., I’m sure that makes it difficult to be in the newsroom on certain days. But I just want you to know, as I said at the outset, we believe strongly in the work you do and believe strongly that the work you do is very important to the quality of democracy.
Tekrar, I just want to thank you all again for letting me disrupt your workday this close to deadline, and thanks again for giving me a few minutes with you. And I look forward to reading what you have to tell us tomorrow. I was telling some of your editors that I’m sure it’s a busy news day, because every day in Turkey is a busy news day. It’s always valuable to us to be able to read your take on what’s happening because it helps us understand what’s happening in this society. Tekrar çok teşekkürler.