French journalist freed by Turkey arrives home

French journalist Loup Bureau (blue jacket) is back in France after being held on terror charges in Turkey for more than seven weeks. Source: AFP

A young French reporter who had been held on terror charges in Turkey, in a case that sparked tensions with France, arrived in Paris on Sunday after being freed.

Loup Bureau, 27, arrived onboard an Air France jet at Charles de Gaulle airport on a flight from Istanbul, the campaign group Reporters without Borders (RSF) said in a tweet.

After his arrival, he was taken to a VIP suite where he was effusively greeted by his family and friends. Culture Minister Francoise Nyssen was also there to welcome him.

"I am very relieved to be back," Bureau said.

Bureau, a journalism student who has worked with the television channels TV5 and Arte and the website Slate, was detained on July 26 at Habur border post in southeastern Sirnak province on the border with Iraq.

He was charged with membership of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), a group which Ankara says is a terrorist organisation.

Bureau's arrest spurred a high-profile campaign in France for his freedom. 

His release was announced on Friday after French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian visited Ankara and lobbied on his behalf.

The case has heightened alarm in Europe over press freedom in Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has carried out a wide-ranging crackdown after surviving an attempted coup in July 2016.

In June, Ankara released and deported French photojournalist Mathias Depardon who was held for a month on charges of supporting terror groups. He was also detained in Turkey's restive southeast.

Germany's Die Welt correspondent Deniz Yucel was imprisoned in February and has been personally accused by 

Erdogan of working as a "terror agent". 

Turkey ranks 155th on the latest world press freedom index compiled by Reporters Without Borders, falling below Belarus and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

According to the P24 press freedom website, there are 171 journalists behind bars in Turkey, most of whom were detained under the state of emergency imposed after last year's coup attempt.

Source AFP - SBS

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