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Macron seeks release of French journalist Loup Bureau, detained in Turkey

Screengrab, Loup Bureau Twitter account

French President Emmanuel Macron sought to secure the release of a French reporter detained in Turkey at the end of July, during a conversation Tuesday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a statement said.


The French leader "expressed his concern about the case of Loup Bureau, a journalism student detained in Turkey, and his desire to see our compatriot return to France as soon as possible," the Elysée Palace said.

Bureau, 27, was arrested on July 26 and accused of having links to Kurdish militias which Turkey regards as terrorist groups.

He is studying for a master's degree in journalism but has also worked as a reporter, notably on a story for the French channel TV5 in 2013 on the militia known as the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).

French journalist unions, European and international journalist associations, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) and TV5 have called for Bureau's immediate release.

Macron broke off from his holidays in the south of France to speak with Erdogan on Tuesday.

"The leaders have agreed to talk again next week," the statement said.

The Turkish presidency, for its part, said the two leaders had discussed "bilateral and regional issues" including the "fight against terror" and the "latest developments in Syria and Iraq", the state-run Anadolu news agency said.

But its report of the conversation made no mention of the Bureau case.

The journalist’s father, Loïc Bureau, for his part, said he was buoyed by word that a dialogue had begun between the two leaders over his son’s case.

“For the first time, we have concrete signs that things are advancing, that the liberation of my son is approaching and that a process is underway,” Loïc Bureau told Europe 1 radio on Wednesday.

The senior Bureau told the French radio station that he finally heard from his son over the weekend. “I hadn’t had any direct news from my son since his incarceration on August 1, after a week in custody,” he said. “He didn’t tell me he was about to crack. But if over the telephone my daughter [who answered the call] didn’t recognise his voice, it is because it was very weak. He usually has a very cheerful tone, [but] there he was rather lifeless. He did seem affected anyway,” Bureau’s father added.

Foreign journalists have repeatedly been accused by the Turkish government of supporting terrorism for reporting on Kurdish separatist groups, adding to tensions between Erdogan and the EU.

Bureau is the third French journalist to be detained in Turkey in the past year.

In June, Turkey deported French photojournalist Mathias Depardon after holding him for a month on charges of supporting terror groups.

Another French reporter, Olivier Bertrand, was expelled in November 2016.

Deniz Yucel, a correspondent for the German daily Die Welt, has been held since February, personally accused by Erdogan of working as a "terror agent".

Turkey ranks 155 on the latest RSF world press freedom index after dropping four places from its 2016 ranking.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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