Turkey to deport detained French photographer on Friday: RSF


Istanbul (AFP)

Turkish authorities were on Friday set to deport a French photojournalist who has been held near the Syrian border for a month, a press advocacy group said.

"The procedure of Mathias Depardon's deportation is in progress. He's on a plane from Gaziantep (in the southeast) to Istanbul and should return to Paris tonight," Christophe Deloire, secretary-general of the Reporters Without Borders (RSF), told AFP.

The French presidency also confirmed the journalist's release.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday asked his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to ensure the journalist's return to France "as soon as possible."

The deportation comes a day after the 37-year-old journalist received a visit from his mother for the first time at the detention centre in Gaziantep.

Depardon was detained on May 8 while on assignment for National Geographic magazine in Hasankeyf in the southeastern Batman province. He has been held since then despite reports he would be deported.

Two weeks after he was detained, Depardon went on hunger strike, stopping almost a week later when he learned that a consular visit would be allowed.

Depardon was accused of working without a press card, which was in the process of being renewed.

He was also detained over "propaganda for a terror group" -- a reference to outlawed Kurdish militants -- which could lead to a judicial investigation, according to Turkish authorities.