Egyptian police raid Turkish state-run news agency in Cairo

Egyptian police raid Turkish state-run news agency in Cairo

Egyptian police raid Turkish state-run news agency in Cairo

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency said on Jan. 15 that Egyptian security forces raided their Cairo office and took four journalists into custody, including a Turkish national, to an unknown destination.

Anadolu Agency on Jan. 15 reported that four of their journalists have been held after Egyptian police raided the Cairo office, shutting down the surveillance camera and cutting access to the internet.

Security forces on Jan. 14 raided the office at 18:00 (Turkish time) and carried out a search until the early hours of the morning. The date the raid took place remains unclear.

Egyptian police also confiscated the journalists’ passports, mobile phones, and computers, curbing their connection with the outside world.

The police also refused to provide any information to the lawyer of Anadolu Agency.

The security forces also did not give information to the embassy’s lawyers.

Turkey condemns the raid, calls for journalists' release

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has strongly condemned the detention of the Anadolu Agency reporters by the Egyptian police and demanded their immediate release, in a written statement on January 15.

FM Çavuşoğlu slams Cairo raid on Anadolu Agency
FM Çavuşoğlu slams Cairo raid on Anadolu Agency

"This act of violence against AA [Anadolu Agency] once again highlighted not only the negative approach of the Egyptian government to press freedom, but also its grave situation on democracy and transparency," the statement read.

"Western countries, which seem sensitive about the freedom of press and expression, have a role in this reckless attitude, by overlooking the condemnation of the violations in this country," it added.

In the meantime, the ministry has summoned the Chargé d’Affairs of the Egyptian Embassy in Ankara for the protest of the raid against the agency bureau.

Turkey's Communications Director Fahrettin Altun also condemned the Egyptian authorities “for their hostile attitude towards the Turkish press.”

"The hostile attempt of Egyptian coup d'état towards the employees of Anadolu Agency is an indication of how insolent they are,” Altun added.

Anadolu Agency's Director-General Şenol Kazancı also called for the immediate release of the reporters.

He also stressed the attitude of the Egyptian security forces towards the press was “unacceptable.”

Several senior Turkish officials extended support and conveyed their concerns to Kazancı, including Presidential Spokesman İbrahi Kalın, Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank and Defense Minister Hulusi Akar.  

Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül said Turkey expected the immediate release of the employees, who he said were "illegally detained."

The ruling Justice and Development (AKP) Party spokesman Ömer Çelik and deputy chairman Cevdet Yılmaz strongly condemned Egypt's seizure and detention of Anadolu Agency staff.       

AKP Deputy Chairman Numan Kurtulmuş also called for the immediate release of the journalists and an apology from Egypt.     

Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu also extended his condolences to Kazancı.

The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli also slammed the raid and said it is as "unlawful." He said it was "a dark move and a clear insult" against Turkey.      

Media associations also condemned the raid and called for the immediate release of the detained journalists.  

“EANA Board considers that the Egyptian authorities should immediately release the detained journalists and inform the international public on what were the legal grounds of their initial arrest,” the European Alliance of News Agencies (EANA)

 “EANA stands with its member, Anadolu Agency and its journalists,” it added.   

Ankara’s ties with Cairo have been poor since the Egyptian army ousted Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Mursi, an ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in 2013.

The two countries have also been at odds over maritime jurisdiction and offshore resources in the eastern Mediterranean.