2 Mar 2020 10:11

Sputnik Turkey editor-in-chief detained, later released in Istanbul

MOSCOW. March 2 (Interfax) - Police have detained Sputnik Turkey news agency editor-in-chief Mahir Boztepe in Istanbul, Rossiya Segodnya news agency editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said.

"Police came to our office in Istanbul. The editor-in-chief of our Sputnik Turkey [news agency] was detained," Simonyan wrote on a Telegram channel on Sunday.

"Another three of our [journalists] have been held in police since yesterday in Ankara, where nationalists broke into their apartments last evening," Simonyan said.

The Rossiya Segodnya international news agency owns the Sputnik news agency.

The Russian Foreign Ministry called on the Turkish authorities to ensure security of representatives of Russian media following the incident involving Boztepe and his colleagues.

"The attack on the employees of the Turkish bureau of the Sputnik news agency and their detention constitute a gross violation of journalists' rights," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Sunday.

"We are calling on the Turkish authorities to interfere in the situation, to ensure the security of Russian media representatives and to help clarify all the circumstances of the incident," the ministry said.

"It has become known that several aggressive protesters broke into the apartments of Sputnik Turkey employees, who are Turkish citizens, on February 29. The protesters were chanting slogans threatening to subject the reporters to physical violence," the ministry said.

The attackers demanded that the journalists stop their professional activities, the ministry said.

"According to our information, the victims have been held by some Turkish security agencies since yesterday [Saturday]. The situation is further aggravated by the fact that attempts to establish contact with them have been unsuccessful," the ministry said.

Later on Sunday, Rossiya Segodnya said on its Telegram channel that Boztepe was released from custody.

"The Sputnik Turkey editor-in-chief is released, Mahir Boztepe's wife said," the news agency said.