Egypt arrested four employees of Turkish state news agency Anadolu on Wednesday after a raid on its Cairo office, accusing the agency of “collecting information harmful to security under the guise of being a research center.”
Following the raid on Tuesday, Egyptian police searched the Cairo office through the night before formally arresting four employees: one Turk and three Egyptians.
The Turk, Hilmi Balci, was in charge of finance and administrative duties for the office.
Egypt as accused the Anadolu news agency of “collect information harmful to security under the guise of a research center.”
Turkey summoned Egypt’s charge d’affaires on Wednesday to protest the raid.
“This is an act of harassment and intimidation against the Turkish press and we strongly condemn it,” Turkey’s foreign ministry said in a statement. “We expect Egyptian authorities to immediately release (Anadolu’s) employees,” it added.
In a sharply worded statement, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry expressed its “total and complete rejection” of Turkey's response, and defended its security forces for acting lawfully. It said Turkey's concerns over press freedom in Egypt obscured the country's own rampant violations of free speech and human rights.
Egypt’s Interior Ministry said it targeted the news agency as part of its “efforts to expose the plots of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood and the countries supporting it.”