Journalists working for Turkey’s state-run news agency who travelled to Greece’s Meis Island to cover recent developments there were threatened by an anti-Turkish Greek website Wednesday.

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.

A Greece-based anti-Turkish website called published a provocative editorial a few hours after they arrived.

“Why do we allow Turkish spies of the National Intelligence Organization (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.

An explanation is expected from Greek authorities on how the site managed to obtain a photo of the passport page as Durul had not shown the page to anyone besides the authorities during his trips to Athens and Meis.

The website also acted in a provocative manner by posting information on Mehmet’s birthplace.

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

Condemning the provocative editorial, Kazanci pointed out that journalists working for Anadolu Agency (AA), a global news agency, closely follow the agenda and breaking developments on Meis Island as in every corner of the world.

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

“We condemn the Greek authorities’ efforts to incite violence, through a fascist website, against AA journalists in Meis. 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 is worth noting,” Altun added.

According to recent media reports, the Greek authorities deployed military elements to the island of Meis. Turkey slammed the move, recalling that the island has had a demilitarized status since the 1947 Paris Peace Treaties.

*Writing by Gozde Bayar

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