PARIS: A young French journalist held on terror charges in Turkey for more than seven weeks was headed to Paris on Sunday after being freed, according to Reporters Without Borders.
“Loup Bureau is on board flight AF1391, which took off from Istanbul at 6.13am (0313 GMT) and arrives in Paris at 8.40am according to Air France,” Christophe Deloire, secretary general of the media freedom group, wrote on Twitter.
Bureau, 27, a journalism student who has worked with the television channels TV5 and Arte as well as the website Slate, was detained in late July at the Habur border post in southeastern Sirnak province on the Iraqi-Turkish border.
He was charged with membership of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), a group which Turkey says is a terrorist organisation.
Washington, however, sees the group as the main force leading the fight against Islamic State jihadists on the ground in Syria.
Bureau – who had been held for 51 days – was taken directly to the departing plane in Turkey to avoid contact with the media, Deloire said.
Bureau’s release followed a visit to Ankara by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian last week, where he pressed Turkish leaders over the detention.
The journalist’s arrest had further heightened alarm over press freedom in Turkey under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with local and foreign reporters caught up in a huge crackdown following a failed coup against his rule in July 2016.
Turkey ranks 155th on the latest world press freedom index compiled by Reporters Without Borders, falling below Belarus and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
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. — AFP