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TURKISH FM ON U.S. ENVOY REMARKS -Turkish foreign minister rejects U.S. ambassador commenting on detention of Turkey journalist.

KATHMANDU, Feb 17, 2011 (TUR) -- Turkish foreign minister on Thursday rejected remarks by U.S. ambassador in Ankara over press freedoms in Turkey.

"We believe that it is not right for an ambassador to pass judgement over an ongoing criminal investigation," Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Top U.S. diplomat in Turkey, Francis J. Ricciardone, said Tuesday "on the one hand there exists a stated policy of support for a free press. On the other hand, journalists are put under detention. We are trying to make sense of this ... That is why we are asking you. The opinions of Turks are important, and Turkish opinions and desires are what really matter in this issue."

Ricciardone's remarks came during a press meeting with journalists.

The U.S. diplomat was responding to question over the recent detention of journalists under a probe against Ergenekon, an alleged criminal network with ties to bureaucracy and military.

"I do not know the charges placed against the detainees; I do not have the details. We are only following the developments," Ricciardone also told reporters during the press meeting.

Davutoglu said the Unites States had made no formal appeal to Turkey over the issue.

"Turkey is a rule of law and there are principles to it such as the separation of powers. And as with any other democratic country, the judiciary is independent in Turkey," Davutoglu said.

Davutoglu also said a senior Turkish diplomat met with Ricciardone on Wednesday on the issue.

"The fact that Turkey is a rule of law cannot be questioned and no government can be criticized for the independent functioning of the judiciary. And as in all democratic countries, the judiciary will pass the final judgement in the end. The issue is not about the freedom of press," Davutoglu said.

(THROUGH ASIA PULSE)
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Publication:Anadolu (Eskisehir, Turkey)
Date:Feb 17, 2011
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