Saudi authorities detained Pakistani correspondent Hasan Abdullah and cameraman Nihat Yayman, who were covering Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s talks with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud in Mecca late on Friday. They were later released after Cavusoglu personally intervened with the Saudi king.
There has been no immediate indication of why the two were detained.
Abdullah said in a statement that the two "were detained from our hotel by Saudi police in Mecca after a live analysis" on the crisis with Qatar.
"The ordeal lasted nearly 10 hours during which we faced multiple interrogations and lock-up," he said.
The two TRT reporters are now heading back to Turkey.
Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain all cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5, after officially accusing Doha of “sponsoring terrorism.”
The administration of Saudi-backed and resigned Yemeni president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, Libya, the Maldives, Djibouti, Senegal and the Comoros later joined the camp in ending diplomatic relations. Jordan downgraded its diplomatic ties as well.
Qatar slammed the decisions to cut off diplomatic ties as unjustified and based on false claims and assumptions.
Turkey, along with Kuwait, has been playing a mediating role to help resolve the crisis, with Cavusoglu and Kuwaiti Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber Al Sabah traveling to the regional countries to discuss ways to de-escalate the tensions.
US President Donald Trump initially praised the Arab countries’ decisions to sever ties with Qatar, implying that it was the fruit of his first visit to the Middle East in late May.
During the visit, Trump signed the largest single arms deal in US history with Saudi Arabia to sell Riyadh $110 billion in arms.
The US has sent a series of mixed messages on the dispute.
On Wednesday, Qatar’s Ministry of Defense said that the country had signed a $12 billion deal with the US to buy F-15 fighter jets from Washington.
The Qatari and US naval forces have also concluded a three-day joint military exercise in the Persian Gulf in the wake of Doha’s ongoing tensions with other Arab countries.