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house Bill H. Res. 279

Does Turkey’s Government Need to Protect Human Rights and Freedom of Expression?

Argument in favor

The U.S. needs to encourage Turkey’s government to stop infringing on its citizens freedom of expression and human rights, as a reformed Turkey could be a useful ally.

Scott's Opinion
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07/16/2016
It's why I hoped the coup would succeed. Erdogen like all Islamicist leaders like to use the mechanism of democracy to undermine real secular freedom. Since their second rate countries have no hard Constitutional protections, and no respected separation of powers, they can always employ the tyrrany of the majority to dismantle protections for the individual. Attaturk new this and built the military role into safeguarding the secular state from the powers of superstitious masses. The west forced the Turks into rewriting the Constitution removing that secular safety net, and now educated modernity loving Turks, and the West have to deal with a man who has all but solidified his permanent grip, and theocratic ideology, on what had been the most progressive Muslim state in the middle east. I think the West has dealt with Turkey shamefully in allowing Erdogen any semblance of legitimacy.
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Natalie's Opinion
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07/16/2016
They definitely do, but we don't need to do anything about it.
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Cameron's Opinion
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07/17/2016
We need to be careful when dealing with hostile actors, but the Turkish people must be heard and their voices amplified, not stifled!
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Argument opposed

This resolution is pretty meaningless, as Congress and the U.S. government are mostly powerless in terms of actually getting the Turkish government to reform.

Matt's Opinion
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07/16/2016
Stay out of it. No reason to intervene in the goings on of a sovereign nation. Look how well it worked in Iraq...
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Angel's Opinion
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07/16/2016
We need to stop sticking our noses in other countries business. We wouldn't allow another country to dictate what our laws are so why should we do it to other countries? We have our own issues. Unless they ask for our help we need to butt out! Period!
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Mart's Opinion
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07/16/2016
Yes it would be nice, but none of our business. What if Turkey's parliament issued this to us? And morally probably could!
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What is House Bill H. Res. 279?

This resolution would call on Turkey to lift restrictions on freedom of expression and respect universal human rights, while also reaffirming the longstanding U.S. partnership and friendship with the people of Turkey.

The resolution notes that while Turkey has long been a modern democracy and a U.S. ally through the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), there are concerns about increased infringements of the Turkish people’s freedom of expression.

It points to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) as being responsible for the erosion of that freedom through the intimidation or arrest of media and blocking access to Twitter and YouTube for two weeks in 2014 and several hours in 2015.

The resolution also calls out violations of human rights through criminal prosecutions based on broad terrorism laws that are ideologically driven, which are also contrary to Turkey’s Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe commitments.

As a simple resolution, this legislation wouldn’t have the force of law if passed, and wouldn’t advance to the Senate.

Impact

The people of Turkey; the Turkish government; and Congress.

Cost of House Bill H. Res. 279

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) was one of 89 members of Congress who drafted a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry urging him to encourage the Turkish government to relax its restrictions on media in the country several months prior to introducing this bill. The letter emphasized that:

“A free media must be supported and protected to foster an environment open to constructive political discussion and to ensure freedom of expression for all the Turkish people.”

This legislation has the support of 32 cosponsors in the House, 28 of whom are Democrats while the remaining four are Republicans.


Of Note: After access to Twitter and YouTube was cut off in 2014 and 2015, those sites and Facebook went dark in Turkey on July 15, 2016 when elements of the Turkish military initiated a coup against President Erdogan and his government. There are conflicting reports over whether the Turkish military or Erdogan’s government have prevailed in the struggle for power, as both sides having claimed to be in control at this stage of the attempted coup.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: By © Nevit Dilmen, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26478637)

Official Title

Urging respect for freedom of expression and human rights in Turkey.

simple resolution Progress


  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
    IntroducedMay 20th, 2015
    It's why I hoped the coup would succeed. Erdogen like all Islamicist leaders like to use the mechanism of democracy to undermine real secular freedom. Since their second rate countries have no hard Constitutional protections, and no respected separation of powers, they can always employ the tyrrany of the majority to dismantle protections for the individual. Attaturk new this and built the military role into safeguarding the secular state from the powers of superstitious masses. The west forced the Turks into rewriting the Constitution removing that secular safety net, and now educated modernity loving Turks, and the West have to deal with a man who has all but solidified his permanent grip, and theocratic ideology, on what had been the most progressive Muslim state in the middle east. I think the West has dealt with Turkey shamefully in allowing Erdogen any semblance of legitimacy.
    Like (26)
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    Not our country = not our business.
    Like (72)
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    Stay out of it. No reason to intervene in the goings on of a sovereign nation. Look how well it worked in Iraq...
    Like (30)
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    We need to stop sticking our noses in other countries business. We wouldn't allow another country to dictate what our laws are so why should we do it to other countries? We have our own issues. Unless they ask for our help we need to butt out! Period!
    Like (19)
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    Not our concern.
    Like (14)
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    Not our business. Stay in your lane!!
    Like (10)
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    Stay out of it
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    Not out country not our business
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    They definitely do, but we don't need to do anything about it.
    Like (9)
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    Yes it would be nice, but none of our business. What if Turkey's parliament issued this to us? And morally probably could!
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    Remember that story of living in glass houses? Just might apply in this case. Or the parable Matthew 7:3- "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? If the US wants to aid Turkey, do it on the quiet. Don't kick a sleeping dog! Addendum: looks like the dog has been kicked. And I believe it kicked itself in an effort to crack down on reformists. Get ready for the Muslim's heavy fist. Erdogan is setting himself up as a dictatorship. Wonder how long the EU will ignore Turkey?
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    Countable member "operaman" said: "Remember that story of living in glass houses? Just might apply in this case. Or the parable Matthew 7:3- "Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?" If the US wants to aid Turkey, do it on the quiet. Don't kick a sleeping dog! Addendum: looks like the dog has been kicked. And I believe it kicked itself in an effort to crack down on reformists. Get ready for the Muslim's heavy fist. Erdogan is setting himself up as a dictatorship. Wonder how long the EU will ignore Turkey?" I think the operaman hit the nail on the head ON ALL POINTS! I would have voted YEA, if I thought it would make any difference. But the UN should handle the matter (yeah, I know, Turkey is the leopard that isn't likely to change its spots). Isn't that what the UN exists for?! Well, it's what they USED to exist for. . . .
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    For all of you saying we should mind our own business, a resolution is simply an official statement. No action is being taken.
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    This accomplishes nothing. Turkey does not care what American legislation thinks of Turkey's human rights record, and so this will only unnecessarily enflame relations with them. Let's not undermine our common goal of defeating ISIS and quelling Russian aggression.
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    We need to be careful when dealing with hostile actors, but the Turkish people must be heard and their voices amplified, not stifled!
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    This is not the business of America. We need to protect ourselves first
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    We're not protecting human rights in our country. We need to mind our own business
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    We don't need to be the world's watchdogs. Let Turkey take care of their own problems.
    Like (4)
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    Not our country not our business
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    Quit policing other people's affairs, if they want our input then so be it, but don't force it upon them.
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