MOSCOW (Reuters) – Turkish police arrested the editor of the Russian news agency Sputnik Turkiye in Istanbul on Sunday, said the head of the state agency, but he was released after a phone call between the foreign ministers of the two countries.
Mahir Boztepe was arrested and police searched the offices of his news agency, according to a Twitter article by Margarita Simonyan, editor in chief of Rossiya Segodnya, RT and Sputnik.
"Turkey, what is it?" Wrote Simonyan.
Relations between Russia and Turkey deteriorated after the death of 33 Turkish soldiers in the Syrian province of Idlib in a strike by Syrian government forces, backed by Russian air power.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke by telephone with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on Sunday evening and called for a rapid resolution of the situation with journalist Sputnik.
Boztepe's detention came a day after a crowd of people chanted slogans outside the homes of three Sputnik journalists in Ankara, said one of the journalist's relatives.
"What appears to have been a coordinated attack came at a time of heightened tensions in Idlib between Syria and Turkey," Sputnik said on his website.
The Turkish Journalists Union said the intimidation of journalists and their detention was unacceptable.
"Journalists cannot be forced to pay for tension between states," the union said on Twitter.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that he had asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw to Syria and let Turkey fight alone against Syrian government forces. The two are expected to meet for talks in Moscow this week.
Russian state news agencies RIA and TASS said retaliatory measures against Turkish media would follow soon, citing an anonymous Russian diplomatic source.
(Report by Andrey Ostroukh; additional report by Ali Kucukgocmen in Istanbul; Edition by Ros Russell)
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