U.S. 'gravely concerned' about reports of civil society indictments in Turkey: State Department

An AK Party supporter waves a Turkish flag outside the Tarabya mansion in Istanbul, Turkey June 24, 2018. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is "gravely concerned" by reports that prosecutors in Turkey have moved to indict 16 civil society, media and business leaders, the U.S. State Department said on Saturday.

"The ability to exercise the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association is fundamental to any healthy democracy," Deputy State Department spokesman Robert Palladino said in a statement. "We urge Turkey to respect these freedoms and to release all those held arbitrarily."

(Reporting by Jonathan Landay; editing by Grant McCool)