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French FM Ayrault warns Erdogan not to use coup as 'blank cheque'

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French FM Ayrault warns Erdogan not to use coup as 'blank cheque'

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France’s foreign minister has warned Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan not to use the country’s quashed coup as a ‘‘blank cheque’‘ to silence opponents.

Speaking on French TV France 3, Jean-Marc Ayrault also seemed to question Ankara’s viability as a partner in the fight against ISIL, though senior officials later appeared to back track in an attempt to clarify those remarks.

“There cannot be purges. The state must be able to function. Those who tried to violate Turkish democracy must be pursued within the framework of the rule of law. It’s not for an arbitrary power to carry it out, it’s democracy which must thrive, be reinforced,” Ayrault said.

Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin is set to meet Erdogan in the first week of August.

A senior Kremlin official said Putin had called his Turkish counterpart to offer his congratulations for putting down the failed rebellion.

Putin also reportedly said he hoped Russian tourists in Turkey would be protected.

Despite a recent truce, ties between Ankara and Moscow remain strained after Turkey shot down a Russian military jet on its border with Syria in November.

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