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‘Failed coup attempt not a blank cheque for Erdogan’

media French foreign minister warned Recep Tayyip Erdogan against clamping down on his opponents after the failed coup attempt in Turkey. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

France's foreign minister jean-Marc Ayrault said on Sunday that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan should not use his country's failed coup as a “blank cheque” to silence his opponents.

“It was important to condemn the coup in Turkey. That is the least we can do,” Ayrault told France 3 television.

But he also warned Erdogan against using the abortive putsch as a pretext for clamping down on his opponents. “We want the rule of law to work properly in Turkey,” Ayrault said, warning: “This is not a blank cheque for Mr Erdogan.”

This view was echoed by Ayrault's Austrian counterpart, Sebastian Kurz, who said Erdogan should not "misuse" the coup as "a carte blanche to do whatever he wants."

Questioned about Turkey's reliability in the US-led coalition against the Islamic State group, Ayrault described Turkey as a “great country” and ally but said the events of the past two days did “raise questions.”

“There's (the question of) reliability on the one hand and, indeed, an element of suspicion on the other,” he said.

The foreign ministry later insisted Ayrault had not meant to question Turkey's dependability in the fight against IS armed group.

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