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Merkel presses Turkey's Erdogan to uphold freedom of opinion, press

ANKARA German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she stressed the importance of press freedom and freedom of opinion in Turkey during talks with President Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday in Ankara.

“With the (attempted) putsch, we saw how the Turkish people stood up for democracy and for the rules of democracy in Turkey,” said Merkel, with reference to July’s failed coup.

“That is exactly why, in this decisive phase, it is important that freedom of opinion is upheld and in connection with this we talked about press freedom,” she added, sitting next to Erdogan.

Allies including Germany fear Erdogan is using the coup attempt as a pretext to curtail dissent.

“Opposition is part of democracy,” said Merkel.

(Reporting by Paul Carrel and Michael Nienaber)

-Reuters