Today, Wednesday, the Turkish presidency condemned what it described as “hostile practices of the Egyptian authorities against the Turkish media.”
This came in a statement issued by the Communication Office of the Turkish Presidency, about the Egyptian police storming the Anatolia Agency office in Cairo.
The statement added: “We condemn the aggressive behavior of the putschist regime in Egypt against the staff of the Anatolia Agency,” noting that what happened “is an indication of the helpless position of the regime.”
He explained that the storming of the Anatolia office indicates “the fear of the revolutionary mentality and its hostility to free news and freedom of expression.”
The statement stressed the need to release the employees as soon as possible.
He added that this “hostile behavior is a response to Turkey’s peaceful activities in the region, especially against the gains it has achieved with the legitimate Libyan government.”
The Turkish presidency called on the international community to condemn this behavior towards the Turkish press.
Sources indicated that the Egyptian police raided the Anatolia office in Cairo on Tuesday evening, adding that the police cut off the Internet and closed the surveillance cameras there.
The police searched the office until morning hours, confiscating the employees’ passports, mobile phones, and computers.
According to the Anatolia correspondent, the Anatolian lawyer went to the office to obtain information about the reason for the raid, but the Egyptian police refused to provide any information.
He added that after that, the police took the lawyer out of the office and continued their searches.
He explained that the police detained the four employees, including a Turkish citizen, until Wednesday morning, after which they took them to an unknown location.
He pointed out that among the detainees were Hilmi Balci, the administrative and financial affairs officer in the office, and journalists Hussein Al-Qabbani and Hussein Abbas, as well as Abdul Salam Muhammad, employee of the Turkish Political, Economic and Social Research (SITA).
He pointed out that the Turkish Charge d’Affairs in Cairo, Kamal al-Din Ar Uyghur, has taken the necessary initiatives with the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Turkish Minister of Defense, Khulusi Akar, continued with the Director General of Anatolia Agency, Chenol Kazanji, after storming the agency’s office in Cairo.
#Urgent | Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, communicates with the Director General of Anatolia Agency, Chenol Kazanji, after storming the agency’s office in Cairo
– ANADOLU AGENCY (AR) (@aa_arabic) January 15, 2020
On Wednesday, Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Qalan contacted the agency’s director general, and sources in the Turkish presidency said that Qalun expressed, during the call, his best wishes for safety of the agency’s employees arrested in Cairo.
On Wednesday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned the Charge d’Affairs of the Egyptian embassy to Ankara, and his condemnation informed him of the arrest of the agency’s employees.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said that it was waiting for the Egyptian authorities to release the workers of the Anatolia office in Cairo “immediately”.
The ministry stated that “the raid by the Egyptian security forces of the Anatolian Agency office in Cairo, and the arrest of some of its workers without pretext, is considered harassment and intimidation against the Turkish press, and we strongly condemn it.”
She noted that this violent action against the Anatolia Agency “once again shows the dangerous situation of the Egyptian authorities regarding questions of democracy and transparency, and their negative approach towards freedom of the press.”
And she added: “Western countries pretend to defend freedom of the media, but their tolerance of violations in Egypt has a role in this reckless position.”
Since 2013, the diplomatic relations between Turkey and Egypt have been running on a mutual basis.