TURKEY

French photographer Mathias Depardon freed from Turkish jail

Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt / AFP | This file photo taken on May 25, 2017 shows people taking part in a protest calling for the release of Mathias Depardon, a French journalist held in Turkey.
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French photographer Mathias Depardon arrived home in Paris Friday night after being released from jail near the Syrian border where he was detained by Turkish authorities for a month.

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"I am very pleased to announce the return to France of our fellow photojournalist @mathiasdepardon tonight," French President Emmanuel Macron wrote on his official Twitter account. 

Macron last weekend had asked his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to ensure the journalist's return to France "as soon as possible".

Christophe Deloire, secretary-general of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), said the procedure for Depardon's deportation was in progress.

"He's on a plane from Gaziantep (in the southeast) to Istanbul and should return to Paris tonight," he told AFP.

French interior minister Gerard Collomb said he spoke earlier Friday with his Turkish counterpart Suleyman Soylu who said Depardon could be deported during the day.

The deportation comes a day after the 37-year-old journalist received a visit from his mother for the first time at the detention centre in Gaziantep.

Depardon was detained on May 8 while on assignment for National Geographic magazine in Hasankeyf in the southeastern Batman province. He has been held since then despite reports he would be deported.

Two weeks after he was detained, Depardon went on hunger strike, stopping almost a week later when he learned that a consular visit would be allowed.

Depardon was accused of working without a press card, which was in the process of being renewed.

He was also detained over "propaganda for a terror group" -- a reference to outlawed Kurdish militants -- which could lead to a judicial investigation, according to Turkish authorities.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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