The State Information service (SIS) issued a statement on Thursday saying that the Cairo office of Turkish state news agency Anadolu was raided by police because the agency had no legal presence in the country.
The SIS listed the history and legal status of the Anadolu office in Egypt since the 1990s, and said it had been operating illegally in Egypt since 2013.
“Anadolu had one accredited correspondent in Cairo in the early 1990s, and he was deported from the country at the time for his implication in a smuggling case between Egypt and Turkey,” said the SIS, adding that in 2010, Anadolu opened an office in Cairo after receiving accreditation.
Foreign media bodies and figures must register with the SIS, which oversees foreign media in Egypt, in order to receive accreditation to operate in Egypt legally.
In 2012, Anadolu submitted a request to convert its Cairo office into a regional office that included 42 reporters, photographers and technicians, according to the SIS.
“In 2013, due to violations committed by Anadolu’s Cairo crew in the aftermath of the 30 June revolution, the competent authorities shut down their office on 29 August 2013, and as of this date the Anadolu Agency has no legal presence in Egypt,” said the SIS statement, adding that all attempts made by the Turkish embassy in Egypt to accredit the agency’s reporters were rejected.
“This refusal is an exercise of the guaranteed sovereignty rights of every country on its territory,” it said.
“Turkey’s official statements reveal the fact that the [Anadolu staff in Cairo] were playing a role within the framework of aggressive Turkish policies against Egypt which in turn constitutes a violation of Egyptian law,” the SIS said.
“The SIS refutes these fallacies and assures the foreign correspondents accredited and residing in Egypt that it is keen on preserving freedom of the press, and further reaffirms its commitment to internationally recognised professional rules of conduct of journalistic work, which is guaranteed to everyone who adheres to the rules of accreditation and the established procedures,” the SIS concluded in its statement.
Egyptian police raided on Wednesday the Anadolu office illegally operating in Cairo, arresting four of its staff members including a Turkish national, according to a statement by Egypt’s interior ministry.
Turkey’s foreign ministry condemned the raid in a statement saying the action “reveals the negative approach of the Egyptian administration towards freedom of the press,” while criticising Cairo’s democratic record. The ministry summoned the Egyptian charge d’affaires in Ankara over the matter and demanded the immediate release of its detained staff.
The Egyptian foreign ministry responded by saying it “categorically rejects” the remarks against what it stressed were legal measures taken in dealing with “illegal Turkish electronic media committees in Egypt.”