Greece-based website publishes a provocative editorial a few hours after Anadolu Agency journalists land on Kastellorizo island, sharing a photograph of one of their passport's identity page.

A Greek website published a photo of AA employee Tevfik Durul's passport identity page. September 3, 2020.
A Greek website published a photo of AA employee Tevfik Durul's passport identity page. September 3, 2020. (AA)

Journalists working for Turkey’s state-run news agency who travelled to Greece’s Kastellorizo island, known as Meis in Turkish, to cover recent military developments there have been threatened by a Greek website.

Anadolu Agency’s Athens representative Tevfik Durul and photojournalist Ayhan Mehmet flew from the Greek capital Athens to Rhodes and reached the island by ship on Wednesday.

A Greece-based website called published a provocative editorial a few hours after they arrived on the island.

"Why do we allow Turkish spies of the National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) to go to [Meis]? Why did we let them set foot on the island? Don't we know what these MIT spies are trying to do? We hope the authorities will do what is necessary!” it said.

The website also published a photo of Durul’s passport identity page, a copy of which should only be kept by Greek authorities and not shared with anyone.

The Greek authorities are yet to explain how the site managed to obtain a photo of the passport page. The site was inaccessible the next day.

The website also posted information on Mehmet’s birthplace.

Provocative action

“Targeting two journalists who went to the island to follow up on news is a heavy blow to press freedom,” Senol Kazanci, AA's director general, said in a statement.

“Greek authorities should provide a safe working environment for AA journalists,” Kazanci said.

“We expect an explanation and an apology from the Athens administration for how the identity and passport information of our friends, which should only be in the hands of the Greek authorities, was leaked,” he added.

“You will pay the price if those Turkish reporters come in harm’s way. Nobody can silence Anadolu Agency, whose staff work in the most hostile environments, through threats, intimidation or the publication of their personal information,” Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said on Twitter.

He pointed out that Greek journalists work freely in Turkey, "which the EU loves to lecture on press freedom, as Greece, an EU member, acts like a mafia state".

READ MORE: Greek troops seen mobilising on island of Kastellorizo

READ MORE: Turkey: Maritime agreement between Tripoli and Ankara 'red line'

East Mediterranean tensions

Greece recently deployed troops to the island which has a demilitarised status since the 1947 Paris Peace Treaties.

Turkey and Greece have been locked in a bitter conflict over exploration rights and control of eastern Mediterranean waters.

Greece's decision to sign a maritime delimitation agreement with Egypt has sparked further tensions between the two neighbours, as Turkey accuses Athens of violating its continental shelf and maritime rights.

Turkey has consistently opposed Greek efforts to declare a huge exclusive economic zone, violating the interests of Turkey, the country with the longest coastline in the Mediterranean.

Ankara has also said energy resources near the island of Cyprus must be shared fairly between the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) – which has issued Turkish state oil company Turkish Petroleum a license – and the Greek Cypriot administration of southern Cyprus.

Both countries have recently carried out military drills with other countries.

READ MORE: Turkey issues Navtex in eastern Mediterranean for Russia drill

READ MORE: Kastellorizo: the next crisis spot between Turkey and Greece?

Source: AA