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Germany says Merkel discussed press freedom with Turkish PM

German Chancellor Angela Merkel adjusts her earphones as she addresses a news conference following her talks with Croatian Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovics at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, March 1, 2016. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch/Files

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu discussed freedom of the press on Sunday, following the seizure of Turkey’s largest newspaper by authorities, a German government spokeswoman said.

“You can assume that this topic was on the agenda during the most recent talks between the chancellor and the Turkish prime minister,” Christiane Wirtz told a government news conference on Monday, adding that they held talks on Sunday.

“Press freedom has very great significance to the German government,” she added.

Turkish police fired tear gas and rubber bullets on Saturday to disperse protesters outside the country’s biggest newspaper after authorities seized control of it in a crackdown on a religious group whose leader the government accuses of treason.

Reporting by Maria Sheahan; Editing by Paul Carrel