New Tension between Turkey & Egypt over Detention of Anadolu Staff Members in Cairo

Egypt’s police raided the Cairo office of Anadolu news agency, AA, and arrested four staff members amid growing tensions between the two countries.

AA in a statement said security forces stormed the office on Tuesday evening, cut off the internet and shut down the security camera. On Wednesday, they seized the staff passports, mobile phones, and computers and arrested four workers including Hilmi Balcı, a Turkish citizen, in charge of finance and administrative affairs department.

The Egyptians are Hussein al-Qabbani, Hussein al-Abbas and Abdelselam Muhammad.

Egyptian authorities have provided no explanation for the operation.
Turkey’s foreign ministry has summoned the senior Egyptian diplomat in the country to protest against the raid.

The raid constitutes, according to a statement from the foreign ministry, an act of harassment and intimidation against the Turkish media.

 

“This act of violence toward AA once again reveals both the Egyptian administration’s negative approach toward press freedom and its dire attitude to democracy and transparency. Western countries seemingly sensitive to press freedom and freedom of expression have contributed to this reckless behavior by turning a blind eye to violations (in Egypt). We expect the Egyptian authorities to immediately release the detained staff members of Anadolu Agency, including the Turkish citizen,” the statement said.

The incident is taking place amid high tensions between the two countries. Relations between Cairo and Ankara, already stained following the overthrow of first democratically elected Egypt Mohamed Morsi in 2013 by incumbent President Fattah al-Sisi, have flared since November following the signing of a security and maritime agreement between Ankara and the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) of Libya.

Cairo has expressed discontent over the maritime agreement and Ankara’s deployment of military troops to prop up the GNA, which is facing ouster by Egypt-backed General Khalifa Haftar.

Egypt also accuses Turkey of providing safe haven for members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Both countries are also opposed about Qatar that has received Turkey’s support in the Gulf crisis.

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