Egyptian police detain 4 employees of Anadolu Agency after raiding Cairo office
The Egyptian police detained four employees of Turkey's state news agency Anadolu in a raid at their office in Cairo late Tuesday, Turkey's state-run news agency said in a statement on Wednesday. The agency added that the four people, including one Turkish and three Egyptian nationals, were then "taken to an unknown place" on Wednesday morning.
The detainees include one Turkish citizen, and were taken to an unknown destination.
''The raid to the Anadolu Agency's Cairo office last night by the Egyptian security forces and the detention of some of the office workers without justification is an act of harassment and intimidation against the Turkish press, we strongly condemn it," Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
"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 said.
"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.
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'etat towards the employees of Anadolu Agency is an indication of how insolent they are," Altun added.
Anadolu Agency's Director General Senol Kazanci also called for the immediate release of the employees.
"Egyptian authorities should immediately release AA employees," Kazanci said.
He also stressed the attitude of the Egyptian security forces towards the press was "unacceptable".
Several senior Turkish officials extended their support and conveyed their concerns to Anadolu Agency Chairman Senol Kazanci over the raid, including Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin, Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, Sports Minister Mehmet Kasapoglu, Education Minister Ziya Selcuk, main opposition party head Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Turkish Parliament Speaker Mustafa Sentop, Transport Minister Cahit Turhan and Agriculture and Forestry Minister Bekir Pakdemirli.
Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said Turkey expected the immediate release of the employees who he said were "illegally detained."
Turkey's Nationalist Movement Party leader Devlet Bahceli slammed Egyptian police seizure of Anadolu Agency office as "unlawful".
Bahceli described Egyptian police's move as "a dark move" and a "clear insult" against Turkey.
Turkey's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party spokesman Omer Celik strongly condemned Egypt's seizure of the Anadolu Agency office in Cairo and detention of staff.
AK Party's deputy chairman Numan Kurtulmus called for the immediate release of the journalists, as well as an apology from Egypt.