Egypt’s raid targeting journalists from Turkey’s Anadolu Agency represents a new phase in its war against the media.
Turkey’s Anadolu Agency is the latest target of Egypt’s war on media organisations after police raided its offices in Cairo, detaining four employees.
The raid has attracted severe condemnation from the Turkish government with Fahrettin Altun, the director of communications for the office of the president, calling the behaviour of the Egyptian government “unacceptable” and “hostile”.
Altun further condemned the response of European governments, which he accused of duplicity when it came to Egypt.
“The international community must act more forcefully against human rights violations by repressive regimes even if it may go against their narrow strategic interests,” Altun said.
“Europe and the US must stop their duplicitous treatment of the Egyptian coup regime and confront it decisively!”
The Egyptian move against the Turkish news agency comes after it failed to block Ankara from securing its interests in the Eastern Mediterranean sea. The Turkish government signed an accord with Libya’s UN-recognised government delineating their shared maritime boundary in the waters.
Egypt’s main ally against the UN-backed Libyan government, warlord Khalifa Haftar, has also failed to capture the Libyan capital of Tripoli. That task was made all the more difficult with the Turkish parliament's approval of Turkish military deployment in Libya.
‘False and fabricated’
Egyptian government officials issued a statement in which they falsely accused Anadolu Agency of “false and fabricated” information, regarding the political, economic, security, and human rights situation in Egypt.
However, any cursory look at Egypt’s performance in any of the above metrics speaks for itself and does not require the concoction of false reports.
With regard to politics, it is clear that there is no room for political opposition in the country. After the 2013 coup, members of the opposition Muslim Brotherhood were brutalised in massacres and by mass imprisonment. This treatment was later extended to other opposition groups who refused to be cowered.
When it comes to the economy, Egypt is beset with rampant corruption and poverty brought about by the Sisi government's austerity measures.
In 2019, the country witnessed mass protests against the government spurred by a call from Egyptian film producer and business tycoon, Mohamed Ali, who blew the lid on military corruption that spans the breadth of the regime, including Sisi himself.
The Egyptian security service, is also at one time brutally repressive of dissidents but at the same time unable to stop the spate of terror attacks. In one recent attack at a cancer hospital in Cairo, 20 people were killed.
Finally, the government’s human rights record is a source of constant embarrassment for Egypt’s western backers. Besides the jailing of journalists, tens of thousands of others are imprisoned without proper due process purely for their political beliefs, hundreds have also been killed by its security forces.
Unable to intimidate exiled dissidents directly, the Sisi regime is now even going after family members, according to Human Rights Watch.
Whether it makes Anadolu Agency and Turkey itself the scapegoat or not, Egypt cannot escape the consequences of its behaviour when it comes to media scrutiny.