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Clinton Concerned About Media Freedom In Turkey

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Istanbul
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said today she was concerned about media freedoms in EU candidate Turkey.

Her comments, on a visit to Istanbul, followed a Council of Europe call this week for Turkey to take urgent measures to uphold freedom of expression and the media.

"If there is an area which I am concerned about with recent actions in Turkey it is this area...It is the area of freedom of expression and freedom of the media," Clinton told a small televised gathering of young Turks in Istanbul.

"I don't think it is necessary or in Turkey's interest to be cracking down," Clinton said. "It seems to me inconsistent with all the other advances that Turkey has made. As someone looking at it from the outside I don't understand it."

Clinton at the same time praised Turkey for its economic growth and political progress and said it was a model for other countries in the region.

Several Turkish journalists were detained earlier this year in connection with an alleged plot to overthrow the government.

The U.S. ambassador to Ankara Francis Ricciardone was at odds with Turkish officials earlier this year over his expression of concern about the detention of journalists.

According to media watchdogs, around 60 journalists are in jail. Many of those work for pro-Kurdish or leftist publications.

The Council of Europe commissioner for human rights Thomas Hammarberg called in a report this week for urgent measures from Turkey to address the "particularly worrying."