- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 1, 2012

ANKARA, TURKEY (AP) - Turkey’s prime minister has hit back at American writer Paul Auster who was quoted as saying that he would not visit the country to protest its jailing of journalists and writers.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, known for his blunt pronouncements, said Wednesday: “As if we need you! Who cares if you come or not? Would Turkey lose any grandeur?”

Auster was quoted as saying in an interview with Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper Monday that he wouldn’t visit Turkey or China to protest their treatment of journalists.

Dozens of journalists have been jailed in Turkey accused of involvement in an alleged plot to topple the government or of links with Kurdish rebels.

Erdogan’s government denies they are being persecuted for their writing.

Copyright © 2016 The Washington Times, LLC.

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