January 22, 2016 / 2:31 PM / 2 years ago

U.S. Vice President Biden chides Turkey over freedom of expression

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said during a trip to Turkey on Friday that intimidating the media, curtailing internet freedom and accusing academics of treason was not setting a good example in the Middle East.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden gestures as he meets with representatives of civil society in Istanbul, Turkey, January 22, 2016. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

“The more Turkey succeeds, the stronger the message sent to the entire Middle East and parts of the world who are only beginning to grapple with the notion of freedom,” Biden told reporters after a meeting with civil society groups.

“But when the media are intimidated or imprisoned for critical reporting, when internet freedom is curtailed and social media sites like YouTube or Twitter are shut down and more than 1,000 academics are accused of treason simply by signing a petition, that’s not the kind of example that needs to be set,” he said.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan last week denounced more than 1,000 signatories, including U.S. philosopher Noam Chomsky, of a declaration that criticized military action in the largely Kurdish southeast as “dark, nefarious and brutal”.

Reporting by David Dolan; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Daren Butler and Dominic Evans

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