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‘My detention nothing compared to what dissidents face in Turkey’

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French journalist Olivier Bertrand, who was deported by Turkey on Sunday after three days in detention, has said his time in custody was nothing compared to what dissidents face in Turkey.

“A big thank you to all for your mobilization. I’m writing right now the story of my detention and interrogation for Les Jours. Unfortunately my kafkaesque days in Turkey are next to nothing compared to what thousands of Turkish dissidents have been living through,” said Bertrand, who works for French news website lesjours.fr, in two Twitter messages posted on Monday.

Turkey has purged more than 110,000 people and jailed another 36,000 over alleged links to Fethullah Gülen, a Turkish Islamic scholar living in the United States who is accused of masterminding a failed coup in Turkey on July 15, something he strongly denies.

Bertrand was detained while reporting in Gaziantep, just north of Turkey’s border with Syria.

Earlier on Sunday, France demanded that Turkey release the French journalist.

“What is happening is shocking and completely unacceptable. France demands the release of this journalist,” French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault told Europe 1 radio on Sunday.

The EU official in charge of relations with Turkey said earlier this month that Turkey’s quest to join the bloc would probably fail unless it reversed its clampdown on civil rights, press freedoms and the judiciary.

Earlier this month, a court had ordered the arrest of nine executives and journalists of the critical Cumhuriyet daily, including its editor-in-chief, Murat Sabuncu.

According to Turkish media organizations, a total of 156 media outlets in Turkey were closed down, 184 journalists were detained, 56 journalists arrested, 866 journalists fired from their jobs and 620 journalists had their press cards canceled in past months over alleged links to the failed coup, which that claimed the lives of more than 240 people.

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