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Germany concerned about press freedom in Turkey

Angela Merkel has raised the issue of human rights with Turkey's prime minister (AP)
Angela Merkel has raised the issue of human rights with Turkey's prime minister (AP)

German government officials have expressed concern about the state of press freedom in Turkey.

Turkish police stormed the headquarters of the country's largest-circulation newspaper, Zaman, on Friday as part of an intensified crackdown on the opposition.

A spokeswoman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she raised the issue of human rights during a meeting on Sunday in Brussels with Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

Christiane Wirtz said "press freedom comes up as an issue with Turkey on a regular basis".

German foreign ministry spokesman Martin Schaefer said countries wanting to join the European Union, including Turkey, "should be expected to have a common understanding of basic rights and civil liberties in Europe".

Turkey has become a key partner in EU efforts to stem the flow of migrants coming to Europe.

A woman covers her face as Turkish anti-riot police officers use tear gas to disperse supporters in front of the headquarters of the Turkish daily newspaper Zaman in Istanbul on March 5, 2016, after Turkish authorities seized the headquarters in a midnight raid. AFP/Getty Images
A woman covers her face as Turkish anti-riot police officers use tear gas to disperse supporters in front of the headquarters of the Turkish daily newspaper Zaman in Istanbul on March 5, 2016, after Turkish authorities seized the headquarters in a midnight raid. AFP/Getty Images
Riot police fire tear gas and use water cannons on crowds outside the headquarters of Zaman newspaper in Istanbul (AP)
Riot police use tear gas against people gathered in support of Turkey's largest-circulation newspaper Zaman at its headquarters in Istanbul (AP)
Women run as Turkish anti-riot police officers use tear gas to disperse supporters in front of the headquarters of the Turkish daily newspaper Zaman in Istanbul on March 5, 2016, after Turkish authorities seized the headquarters in a midnight raid. AFP/Getty Images
Men run as Turkish anti-riot police officers use tear gas to disperse supporters in front of the headquarters of the Turkish daily newspaper Zaman in Istanbul on March 5, 2016, after Turkish authorities seized the headquarters in a midnight raid. Turkish authorities were on March 5 in control of the newspaper staunchly opposed to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after using tear gas and water cannon to seize its headquarters in a dramatic raid that raised fresh alarm over declining media freedoms. Police fired the tear gas and water cannon just before midnight at a hundreds-strong crowd that had formed outside the headquarters of the Zaman daily in Istanbul following a court order issued earlier in the day. / AFP / OZAN KOSEOZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images
Men run as Turkish anti-riot police officers use tear gas to disperse supporters in front of the headquarters of the Turkish daily newspaper Zaman in Istanbul on March 5, 2016, after Turkish authorities seized the headquarters in a midnight raid. Turkish authorities were on March 5 in control of the newspaper staunchly opposed to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after using tear gas and water cannon to seize its headquarters in a dramatic raid that raised fresh alarm over declining media freedoms. Police fired the tear gas and water cannon just before midnight at a hundreds-strong crowd that had formed outside the headquarters of the Zaman daily in Istanbul following a court order issued earlier in the day. / AFP / OZAN KOSEOZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images
Men run as Turkish anti-riot police officers use tear gas to disperse supporters in front of the headquarters of the Turkish daily newspaper Zaman in Istanbul on March 5, 2016, after Turkish authorities seized the headquarters in a midnight raid. Turkish authorities were on March 5 in control of the newspaper staunchly opposed to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after using tear gas and water cannon to seize its headquarters in a dramatic raid that raised fresh alarm over declining media freedoms. Police fired the tear gas and water cannon just before midnight at a hundreds-strong crowd that had formed outside the headquarters of the Zaman daily in Istanbul following a court order issued earlier in the day. / AFP / OZAN KOSEOZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images
Men run as Turkish anti-riot police officers use tear gas to disperse supporters in front of the headquarters of the Turkish daily newspaper Zaman in Istanbul on March 5, 2016, after Turkish authorities seized the headquarters in a midnight raid. Turkish authorities were on March 5 in control of the newspaper staunchly opposed to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan after using tear gas and water cannon to seize its headquarters in a dramatic raid that raised fresh alarm over declining media freedoms. Police fired the tear gas and water cannon just before midnight at a hundreds-strong crowd that had formed outside the headquarters of the Zaman daily in Istanbul following a court order issued earlier in the day. / AFP / OZAN KOSEOZAN KOSE/AFP/Getty Images

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