CAIRO (AP) — Egyptian authorities released four people Thursday, including two Egyptian journalists, arrested in a police raid on the Cairo bureau of Turkey’s state-run news agency, a judicial official said.
Turkey’s Anadolu agency said Wednesday four of its staff members, including a Turkish citizen, were arrested the previous day by Egyptian police after they raided the agency’s office. All four were released on $630 bail each, the judicial official said on condition of anonymity, because he was not authorized to brief the media.
Mohamed Saad Abdel Hafiz, a senior board member of the Egyptian Journalists’ Syndicate, wrote on his Facebook page that Anadolu’s Egyptian correspondents Hussein Qabbani and Hussein Abbas were released.
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.” It accused Anadolu of spreading false news about Egypt.
Egypt remains among the world’s worst jailers of journalists, along with Turkey and China, according to The Committee to Protect Journalists, a U.S.-based watchdog. In recent years, Egyptian authorities have jailed dozens of Egyptian reporters and occasionally expelled foreign journalists from the country.
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry condemned the raid, demanded the immediate release of the Anadolu employees, and summoned the top Egyptian diplomat in Turkey in protest. It accused the Egyptian government of harassing and intimidating the Turkish media.
Turkish-Egyptian relations have deteriorated since 2013 when the Egyptian military removed Egypt’s democratically elected Mohamed Morsi following protests over his divisive rule. Turkish President Recep Tayep Erdogan has long backed the Muslim Brotherhood, Egypt’s oldest Islamist organization, from which Morsi hailed.