16 April 2014, Wednesday
Today's Zaman

Four Turkish journalists detained in Egypt are released

Four Turkish journalists who were detained in Cairo by the Egyptian army on Tuesday were released later the same day.

Star TV reporter Murat Uslu and cameraman Zafer Karakaş were taken into custody and some hours later, A Haber correspondent Fatih Er and cameraman Tufan Güzelgün, together with reporters from other countries as well as Egypt, were also detained by the army. The army released the Star and A Haber correspondents at around 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday.

Er told an A Haber news program on Tuesday that they were held for five hours in a building that belongs to the Egyptian intelligence service.

The army confiscated the journalists' cameras and passports. As soon as the detention of the reporters was made public, the Turkish Embassy in Cairo began to investigate to determine what had happened and make efforts to secure the release of the four Turkish journalists. Speaking to Today's Zaman, a diplomat said that although the Turkish embassy started to work on the issue immediately, it was difficult to assess immediately, as the country was in a chaotic situation at the time.

Since Wednesday when the Egyptian military overthrew the country's elected president, Mohammed Morsi, then suspended the constitution, called for new elections and announced that it would install a temporary civilian government, anti-coup protesters have been staging protests to oppose the coup and show their support for the deposed Egyptian leader.

Er said that they were with some Egyptian journalists in front of the Republican Guard headquarters, where Morsi was detained last week, to film the events taking place around the building when the army began to detain the journalists. Er said that they had not yet filmed anything when the army intervened.

The A Haber correspondent added that they were taken to a building by members of the intelligence service and told that there were also other journalists in the same place. Er said he was asked various questions by the intelligence officers before being released, but he noted that they were not mistreated by the Egyptian authorities.

Star cameraman Karakaş, who talked to NTV news after his release, said they asked for help from security forces when a group of people attacked them for filming a line of people waiting for bread near Rabaa el-Adawiya Mosque Square. The army officers then took the Star reporters into custody on the grounds that they did not have work permit. Uslu and Karakaş said they had not been treated badly by security forces nor been subjected to physical violence.

Uslu also said they underwent a thorough body search before being taken to a building fifteen minutes from the square. Uslu added that they met with A Haber correspondents Er and Güzelgün in a room where they were taken to sign a document acknowledging that they were not ill-treated before being released.

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