Macron calls Erdoğan, expresses concern over arrested French journalist

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French President Emmanuel Macron (L) and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

French President Emmanuel Macron in a phone call on Tuesday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed concern over French freelance reporter Loup Bureau, who was arrested on Aug. 1, in the southeastern Turkish province of Şırnak on charges of aiding and supporting a terrorist organization.

According to a statement from Élysée Palace, Macron told Erdogan he wanted “that our compatriot be able to return to France as soon as possible.”

The two leaders agreed to discuss the matter again next week.

Macron and Erdoğan also spoke about developments in Syria and the fight against terrorism.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Aug. 3 called on the Turkish government to immediately release French freelance reporter Bureau.

Bureau was detained on July 26 near the Iraqi border while he was preparing a report on the Kurdish issue and what life is like for the local population. He was arrested on Aug. 1 for aiding and supporting the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and taken to a prison in Şırnak province.

French photojournalist Mathias Depardon, who was detained on May 8 in Turkey, was deported to France after his release on June 24, following a face-to-face meeting and a telephone call between French President Macron and Turkish President Erdoğan.

Turkey is ranked 155th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index.

The situation of its media in Turkey has become critical under the state of emergency proclaimed after a July 2016 coup attempt. Around 150 media outlets have been closed, mass trials are being held and more than 100 journalists are currently in prison – a world record.

Several foreign journalists have been either deported or jailed in Turkey, including Die Welt’s Deniz Yücel, who has been in pretrial detention since February of this year on similar terror charges.

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