Turkish President Erdogan has threatened to expel the US ambassador and 9 other American representatives in response to anti-Erdogan protests.
ISTANBUL – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday that he had ordered 10 foreign ambassadors who called for the release of a jailed philanthropist to be declared persona non grata.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – President of Turkey
Earlier this week, the countries co-enjoying Turkey (US, France, Germany) issued a statement urging the authorities to resolve the issue of Osman Kavala. He has already spent over 500 days in prison despite not having been convicted of any crime yet.
“Describing the statement as an ‘impudence,’ Erdogan said he had ordered the ambassadors to be declared undesirable.”
“I gave the instruction to our foreign minister and said ‘You will immediately handle the persona non grata declaration of these 10 ambassadors,'” Erdogan said during a rally in the western city of Eskisehir
“Plus, they will know and understand Turkey. One day when they don’t know or understand Turkey anymore, they will move on.”
A group of diplomats, including those from the Netherlands, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Norway was called into the ministry on Tuesday.
Diplomats who have been banished from a host country by a declaration of persona non grata are prohibited from remaining there.
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Kavala was acquitted in 2016 of charges linked to nationwide anti-government protests in 2013, but the ruling was overturned and the 2018 ruling joined his case with one relating to a 2016 coup attempt.
International observers and human rights groups have repeatedly called for the release of Kavala and Selahattin Demirtas- who have been in jail since 2016. They say their imprisonment is based on political grounds. Ankara on the other hand denies these claims and insists that Turkish courts are independent.
The European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly called on Kavala’s release, as they say, his incarceration is preventing him from being able to raise his voice. Stefan Schennach, the Human Rights Rapporteur for the Council of Europe announced that Chavala would face due process if not released. Without Kavala, the previously discussed issue could not be solved.
The current U.S. ambassador, David Satterfield, was appointed in 2019 and the nomination of his replacement, Jeff Flake, was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday.
After Erdogan’s order was reported, the State Department said in a statement, “We are aware of these reports and are seeking clarity from the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”