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Two Russian reporters held in Turkey

December 4, 2020

Two journalists from the Russian television channel NTV have been arrested by Turkish police for allegedly filming a drone production unit without permission, NTV and a Turkish source said Friday.

Moscow and Ankara have agreed to jointly monitor a Russian-mediated truce over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region after a six-week war between Armenia and Azerbaijan that has claimed over 2,000 lives.

But tensions between the two had risen over Nagorno-Karabakh before that with Russia accusing Turkey of deploying Syrian fighters to combat Armenian forces in the contested region.

NTV said journalist Alexei Petrushko and cameraman Ivan Malyshkin were arrested by police in Istanbul on Thursday morning.

The channel said they were still in detention on Thursday evening and that subsequent calls and messages to them had gone unanswered.

A source in the Turkish foreign ministry said they were arrested while filming a unit manufacturing drones without permission.

“They came to Istanbul to film but had neither received authorisation nor accreditation,” the source said.

The Russiam embassy said it was in contact with Turkish authorities and hoped for “cooperation”.

Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.