PARIS (AP) — Protests over press freedom and the deteriorating state of human rights in Turkey greeted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as he arrived in Paris on Friday for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron.
The trip is Erdogan’s first to France since his government strongly cracked down on suspected opponents following a failed coup in July 2016. About 50,000 people have been arrested and 110,000 others removed from public sector jobs in Turkey.
About 30 activists from watchdog group Reporters without Borders held images of jailed journalists outside the Turkish Embassy. A dozen demonstrators, mainly ethnic Kurds, later tried to reach the presidential Elysee palace, but police pushed them back onto a side street.
Kurds, one holding a banner reading Truth and Justice, demonstrate near the Elysee Palace in Paris, Friday, Jan.5, 2018. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
RSF Secretary General Christophe Deloire, center, poses with members of Reporters Without Borders (RSF) holding stencils representing portraits of imprisoned Turkish journalists, during a demonstration in front of the Turkish Embassy, in Paris, Friday, Jan. 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
The French Communist Party and several left-wing parties have criticized Erdogan’s visit to France, which came the day before the fifth anniversary of the slayings in Paris of three Kurdish women activists.
“The French judicial system had pointed out Turkish secret services’ involvement in this crime,” the Communist Party said in a statement.
Macron is expected to raise the issue of media freedom with Erdogan. The two leaders also are set to discuss Turkey’s relationship with the European Union, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the war in Syria.