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MIDEAST > AA reporter released, status of Turkish journalist remains unclear in Cairo

CAIRO – Anadolu Agency

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A member of the army handles a stick during an evacuation of the mosque where supporters of deposed Egyptian President Morsi were trapped for hours. REUTERS photo

A member of the army handles a stick during an evacuation of the mosque where supporters of deposed Egyptian President Morsi were trapped for hours. REUTERS photo

A reporter working for the state-owned Anadolu Agency, who was detained along with a Turkish journalist at the public broadcaster TRT at al-Fath Mosque on Cairo’s Ramses Square on Aug. 17, was released by Egyptian security forces early this morning.

However, the status of the Turkish journalist, Metin Turan, remains unclear as of this morning.

Heba Zakaria was detained with 33 women, three of whom are Irish with Egyptian origins, according to her initial statements after the release.

Zakaria said she was released along with 27 women this morning.

Both TRT’s Metin Turan and Anadolu Agency’s Heba Zakaria were trapped with hundreds of supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi following a police crackdown during the "Day of Anger" staged by the Muslim Brotherhood on Aug. 16. They were taken into custody at the Tora prison on the outskirts of Cairo, Anadolu Agency has reported.

Hours earlier, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç had warned that in the case that the standoff at the mosque ended peacefully, the journalist would likely be taken into custody. “We are following the events very closely,” Arınç said ahead of a meeting in Bursa while stressing that the Prime Ministry’s Press and Information Office had published a statement warning journalists on the risks of reporting in Egypt. 

For his part, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu conducted an intense diplomatic effort to end the siege at the mosque. Davutoğlu held phone meetings with Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) head Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu and several counterparts, including Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt.

August/17/2013

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