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Democracies must respect rule of law - Macron

By AFP

Added 5th January 2018 08:16 PM

Macron had pledged to raise human rights concerns ahead of Erdogan's visit.

Democracies must respect rule of law - Macron

Macron had pledged to raise human rights concerns ahead of Erdogan's visit.

Emmanuel Macron, the President of France. (Credit: AFP)

French President Emmanuel Macron told his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday that democratic nations must respect the "rule of law," criticising the jailing of dozens of journalists in Turkey in recent months.

"Democracies must fully respect the rule of law," Macron told a joint press conference with Erdogan, adding that the two men had discussed a list of individual cases of jailed journalists during their talks.

Erdogan's government has also arrested tens of thousands of officials, academics and activists in the wake of a botched coup attempt in 2016, drawing criticism from rights advocates.

Macron had pledged to raise human rights concerns ahead of Erdogan's visit, one of only a handful he has made to Europe as relations with the West soured in the wake of the post-coup crackdown.

According to the P24 press freedom group, there are 170 journalists behind bars in Turkey, most of whom were arrested under the state of emergency in place since the July 2016 coup attempt.

Turkey is ranked 151st of 180 countries in the 2016 World Press Freedom index published by Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

In one of the latest cases, Turkish prosecutors in December sought life sentences for three veteran journalists accused of links to US-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, who Ankara says orchestrated the failed bid to oust Erdogan.

The journalists have been charged with having known the coup bid was imminent and with being involved in the sending of subliminal messages it was to happen.

AFP

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