France de­mands re­lease of French jour­nal­ist ar­rested in Turkey

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

France has de­manded that Turkey re­lease a French jour­nal­ist ar­rested there on Fri­day, as a crack­down on the me­dia af­ter an at­tempted coup this year con­tin­ues to draw in­ter­na­tional crit­i­cism.

Olivier Ber­trand, who works for French news web­site, was ar­rested while re­port­ing in the town of Gaziantep, just north of Turkey’s border with Syria. “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 yes­ter­day. “We are in per­ma­nent con­tact with him (Ber­trand) via our em­bassy. We are do­ing ev­ery­thing we can to get him re­leased,” he added.

Turkey has de­tained tens of thou­sands of peo­ple over al­leged links with Fethul­lah Gulen, a cleric liv­ing in the United States who is accused of mas­ter­mind­ing the abortive putsch - some­thing he de­nies. 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 clamp-down on civil rights, press free­doms and the ju­di­ciary.

France ex­pressed “se­ri­ous con­cern” this month at Turkey’s ar­rest of Kur­dish law­mak­ers. Ayrault also voiced con­cern over signs that Turkey could bring back the death penalty, some­thing Prime Min­is­ter Bi­nali Yildirim said this month was a pos­si­bil­ity.

Turkey aban­doned the death penalty in 2002 as part of its EU ac­ces­sion process, al­though there had been no ex­e­cu­tions since 1984. — Reuters

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