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Egypt orders release of 4 detained after raid on Turkish news agency office

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Egypt’s public prosecutor’s office said on Thursday it had ordered the release of four people detained following a raid on Turkey’s state-owned Anadolu news agency office in Cairo, with the company confirming that one employee had been freed, Reuters reported.

Hilmi Balcı, a Turkish national who had been working at Anadolu’s Cairo office, was handed over to the Turkish Embassy and deported after questioning, while three Egyptians were to be released on a 10,000 Egyptian pound ($630) bail, the prosecutor said in a statement.

On Wednesday Turkey had summoned Egypt’s chargé d’affaires to deliver a protest about the raid and detentions.

Egypt in turn summoned Turkey’s chargé d’affaires, Egyptian media reported on Thursday.

Ankara’s relations with Cairo have been frosty since the Egyptian army ousted Muslim Brotherhood president Mohamed Morsi, an ally of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, in 2013. The two countries have also been at odds over maritime jurisdiction and offshore resources in the eastern Mediterranean.

Anadolu said just one Turkish national had been detained and later released after the raid. It also reported that the other three were Egyptian nationals, one of them working for Turkey’s pro-government Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA).

The Egyptian interior ministry said the location of the raid — which it said was a flat — had been used to produce false and “negative” information.

It accused Turkey and the banned Muslim Brotherhood of being behind “adverse activity” at the flat. Egypt’s State Information Service, which accredits foreign media, said Anadolu has had no legal status in the country since 2013.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry condemned the raid as “an act of violence” against Anadolu.

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