Washington, D.C. – Ranking Member Eliot Engel, senior Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, sharply criticized the sentences handed down by a Turkish court today in a highly publicized case against those accused of attempting to overthrow Turkey’s government.

“The sentences handed out today to those accused of plotting a coup against the Turkish government raise serious question about the rule of law in Turkey. While I am not in a position to judge the guilt or innocence of those who stood accused, I have serious concerns when members of parliament, academics, and journalists are sentenced to lengthy prison terms after a trial criticized by outside observers for being overly politicized and less than transparent. The trial is but the latest in a string of actions against journalists in Turkey, where press freedoms have increasingly come under assault. The irony of using less than democratic means to convict individuals accused of attempting to usurp democracy should not be lost on anyone.”