Turkey to deport French photographer Mathias Depardon

French photographer Mathias Depardon walks at the international departure terminal of Ataturk airport in Istanbul Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Depardon arrived in Istanbul and was set to be sent to Paris on Friday

A French photographer detained by Turkish police near the Syrian border last month has been freed and will be deported, a rights group says.

Mathias Depardon, 37, was being held in the south-eastern city of Gaziantep, accused of propaganda links with outlawed Kurdish militants.

The group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said his detention was "illegal".

Last week, French President Emmanuel Macron urged his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to intercede.

The Istanbul-based photographer was on assignment for National Geographic magazine when he was detained in Hasankeyf, in the south-eastern Batman province, on 8 May.

The accusation of "propaganda for a terrorist organisation" was a possible allusion to photos of members of the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) which had been published in French media outlets, RSF said in a statement.

The police apparently found the images while looking at the photographer's social media accounts following his detention, the group added.

His deportation comes a day after his mother visited him in detention. Mr Macron said on Twitter he was "very happy" with the news.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption There were protests and a social media campaign demanding the photographer's release

RSF said Depardon's detention was "further evidence of the suspicion with which foreign journalists are increasingly treated in Turkey".

"Depardon's only crime was practising journalism, so his detention is illegal and arbitrary," RSF secretary-general Christophe Deloire said earlier this week.

Dozens of foreign journalists have been expelled from Turkey since fighting between the Turkish army and the PKK flared up in July 2015, after the end of a two-year ceasefire, the group added.

Turkey is ranked 155th out of 180 countries in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index by RSF.

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