U.S. Vice President Joe Biden says Turkey, once vaunted by Washington as a model of Islamic democracy, is setting a poor example for the region by intimidating media, curtailing Internet freedom and accusing academics of treason. Rough Cut - Subtitled (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - SUBTITLED (NO REPORTER NARRATION) U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Friday (January 22) that Turkey, once vaunted by Washington as a model of Islamic democracy, was setting a poor example for the region in intimidating media, curtailing Internet freedom and accusing academics of treason. On a two-day visit to the NATO ally which is part of the U.S.-led alliance against Islamic State in neighboring Syria and Iraq, Biden said the strength of Turkey's democracy had a direct impact on its ties with the United States. Turkey is a vital partner for both Washington and Europe in efforts to combat Islamic State, end Syria's civil war, and curb the flow of migrants and refugees. Opponents of its government have accused the West in the past of pulling its punches over the country's human rights record as a result. Turkey was cited by Washington as an example for the Middle East of a functioning Islamic democracy in the early years of then prime minister Tayyip Erdogan's rule. More recently, reforms have faltered and Erdogan, now president, has demonstrated a more authoritarian style. Last week, he denounced as "dark, nefarious and brutal" more than 1,000 signatories, including U.S. academic Noam Chomsky, of a declaration that criticized Turkish military action in the largely Kurdish southeast. Security forces briefly detained 27 academics on accusations of terrorist propaganda. Dozens face investigation by their universities.