French minister advocates for jailed journalist in Turkey

AP News
Posted: Sep 14, 2017 4:32 PM
French minister advocates for jailed journalist in Turkey

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — France's foreign minister called on Turkey's government Thursday to respect European Union values and to work to improve its strained relations with Germany and other EU nations.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said at a news conference with his Turkish counterpart in Ankara that France does not want to see a "rupture" in Turkey's connection to the European bloc.

Le Drian also called for a swift trial for jailed French journalist Loup Bureau, who has been jailed in Turkey since July 26 on suspicion of terrorism "so that he may rapidly return to France and to his family."

Le Drian says Turkish leaders agreed to improve the conditions under which Bureau is being held and to allow the journalist family visits.

Turkey has accused Bureau of aiding and assisting a terrorist organization for reporting on Kurds living near the Iraq border.

Le Drian's visit came a day after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said Turkey was taking "giant steps away from Europe."

"I have underlined the importance of returning to a more conciliatory exchange concerning (Turkey's) relations with certain European nations so that we may concentrate efforts on problems that we face," Le Drian said.

Relations between Turkey and Germany have been tense for months, with Turkey accusing Germany of harboring people with alleged links to last year's failed coup as well as outlawed Kurdish militant groups. Berlin has accused Turkey of backsliding on democratic values and is angered by the arrest of German citizens in Turkey.

"We really are not a country that wants to have problems with the European Union or with Europe," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during his appearance with Le Drian. "But we also aren't a country or a people who will bow down to double standards."

Cavusoglu blamed soured ties with Germany on anti-Turkish rhetoric in the run up to this month's elections in Germany and said he hoped relations would ease after the vote.