The U.S. called on Egyptian authorities Wednesday to free four Anadolu Agency employees detained in a raid on their office in Cairo.
"We’re aware of the reports. If true, we call on the Egyptian Government to release the detained journalists and allow for a free and open press in Egypt," a State Department spokesperson told Anadolu Agency.
Egyptian police raided the Cairo office of Anadolu Agency on Tuesday and the whereabouts of the detainees, which include one Turkish citizen, remain unknown.
Turkey condemned the raid and called for the immediate release of the four employees.
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric on Wednesday said his colleagues were looking into the incident and reiterated his concerns about the protection of journalists in all corners of the globe.
In a statement, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said it had contacted the Egyptian Prosecutor General's Office and State Information Service for more information about the police operation but was awaiting a response.
"Journalists operating in Egypt should not have to work in fear that they will be used to settle political scores between countries," said Sherif Mansour, the group's coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa.
"Authorities must immediately release the Anadolu News Agency staffers arrested yesterday, and stop using false news charges to harass and silence the media," he added.
Turkey’s political relations with Egypt have remained rocky since 2013, when Mohamed Morsi -- Egypt's first freely elected president and a Muslim Brotherhood leader -- was ousted in a bloody military coup.
Ankara's maritime deal with Libya's UN-recognized government of National Accord in November sparked further tensions with Cairo government./aa