French photojournalist Mathias Depardon deported from Turkey after month in detention
GAZİANTEPA French photojournalist detained in May by Turkish police while on assignment in the southeast has been deported, the French President’s Office and activist group Reporters sans Frontieres said on June 9.
Mathias Depardon was detained on May 8 while on assignment for National Geographic magazine in Hasankeyf, in the southeastern province of Batman. He has been held since then at a deportation center in the southeastern province of Gaziantep, despite reports he would be deported.
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) stated on Twitter that Depardon was on an airplane to Istanbul and would arrive in Paris in the evening.
On the same day, the journalist saw his mother for the first time since he was detained in an “emotional” meeting.
“It was very emotional for both sides. I saw my son crying because he was so moved,” Daniele Van de Lanotte told AFP outside the detention center after seeing her son, who turned 37 this week.
“I am relieved to see him, it is quite a gift,” Van de Lanotte, 66, said. “He looked pretty good.”
“We brought him many books, clothes and newspapers,” she added.
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.
A French consul representative based in Ankara, Christophe Hemmings, was allowed an hour-long visit with Depardon, according to Deloire.
The visit may have been granted due to a promise Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan made to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on May 25 during the NATO summit that he would “rapidly” look into Depardon’s case, Macron’s office said.
The Turkish authorities have said he was detained over “propaganda for a terror group” - a reference to the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) - and this could lead to a judicial investigation.
His mother was accompanied on her visit by Hemmings and RSF Secretary-General Christophe Deloire.
“Mathias Depardon must be released now,” Deloire said.