French President Emmanuel Macron in a phone call on Tuesday with Turkey’s autocratic 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. 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.
Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has showed that 277 journalists and media workers are now in jails as of August 15, 2017, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 252 are arrested pending trial, only 25 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 135 journalists who live in exile or remain at large in Turkey.
Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the movement, the government also closed down more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt. Turkey’s Contemporary Journalists’ Association (ÇGD) recently announced that more than 900 press cards were cancelled. (SCF with turkishminute.com)