White House says expects Turkey to uphold democratic freedoms

WASHINGTON Thu Jun 13, 2013 1:24pm EDT

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House on Thursday said Turkish authorities should uphold the freedoms of expression and assembly, and individuals should not be punished for exercising their rights amid a police crackdown on anti-government protests.

"Turkey is a close friend and ally of the United States, and we expect the Turkish authorities to uphold these fundamental freedoms," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.

Carney said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had spoken with his counterpart in Turkey, and that there had been other communication between the United States and Turkey about the protest at different levels.

But Carney did not comment on whether President Barack Obama had spoken directly with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan about the protests.

(Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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