Turkish authorities have arrested 34 Egyptian journalists who are allegedly members of the Muslim Brotherhood in an attempt to accelerate the process of normalizing relations with Cairo, the London-based Asharq al-Awsat reported on Sunday.
Citing several media outlets and social media pages affiliated with the Brotherhood in Turkey, Asharq al-Awsat said 34 journalists were arrested for calling for protests to undermine stability and spread chaos during the 2022 UN Climate Change Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh.
The arrestees were preparing to launch a new Telegram channel to “incite protests, acts of violence, and chaos in Egypt,” the report said, adding that the journalists were included on the list of deportations over the danger they pose to public security under the “G78” code, which is given to foreigners with infectious diseases to prevent their entry into Turkey.
According to the report, journalist and former editor-in-chief of the Al-Sharq channel Hossam al-Ghamry announced on Twitter a day earlier that Turkish security arrested him at his house and that he may be deported.
On Oct. 28 Amnesty International’s USA Middle East/North Africa Network called on Turkish authorities to release Ghamry.
Outspoken Egyptian journalist Hossam Elghamry, who has been raising HR concerns for #COP27 has been detained by Turkey, raising fears of deportation. Call on Turkey to release him, and Egypt to release Hossam's son, arrested the day before. COP must be open to civil society. pic.twitter.com/krQBjO5sr2
— Amnesty USA MENA (@aiusaMENA) October 28, 2022
Ghamry has recently called for protests and inciting chaos in Egypt on Nov. 11 and promoted violent protests against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, the report said, adding that several Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated social media pages indicated, however, that he was arrested for violating the conditions of his residence, with several sources ruling out that he would be deported.
Some activists within the Muslim Brotherhood and the organization’s loyalists in İstanbul linked Ghamry’s arrest to the recent change in Turkish policy towards Egypt, according to Asharq al-Awsat, which said they believed “the opposition abroad and their channels are now being sacrificed because relations between the two countries are not classified as either permanent enmity or constant friendship.”
Talks between Egypt and Turkey are ongoing at the level of the intelligence services, as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan indicated in statements last month, noting that Ankara hopes that dialogue will be at higher levels after years of tensions that began with the disruption of relations in 2013.
Egypt and Turkey have not named ambassadors to their respective embassies and have operated at the level of chargé d’affaires since 2013, when relations worsened following the ousting of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi by military chief Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, now the country’s president.