Turkey will not be invited to U.S. President Joe Biden’s upcoming Summit for Democracy, Politico reported on Thursday.
The virtual summit is seen as one of Biden’s key foreign policy initiatives as he seeks to push back against a global wave of authoritarianism. However, Turkey will not be invited to attend the meeting over President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s record of undermining democratic systems, Politico said.
Other countries to exclude include Hungary, whose President Viktor Orban is similarly accused of undermining democratic norms and the rule of law.
Scheduled to take place between December 9 and 10, the summit will promote internet freedom, more funds for media literacy programs, and placing stronger export controls on dual-use technologies that can be used for internal representation.
“It does matter what democracies do,” Sarah Repucci from monitoring group Freedom House told Politico. “They need to set a positive example and band together, because the dictatorships band together.”
The annual Freedom House study of political rights and civil liberties for 2021 rated Turkey as “Not Free”, saying the country was “one of most challenging places in the European region to exercise one’s right to free speech and expression”.
Freedom House also raised concerns over internet freedoms in Turkey, saying they had declined for a third year in a row amid a crackdown on websites and social media platforms critical of Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP).