The ambassadors of 10 countries, including Germany and the United States, who appealed for the release of the Turkish activist and philanthropist Osman Kavala, will each be declared “persona non grata,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday.
“I have ordered our foreign minister to declare these 10 ambassadors as persona non grata as soon as possible,” he said, referring to a term used in diplomacy which signifies the first step before expulsion.
The news has been reported by the most important news outlets worldwide on Saturday.
The ambassadors had been summoned earlier this week and asked for an explanation for their statement on the Kavala case.
Since 2017, Turkey has imprisoned Kavala without charge over a series of charges linked to anti-government protests in 2013 and a failed military coup in 2016. Kavala denies the accusations.
Despite being acquitted in February 2021 of financing the 2013 protests, he was immediately charged with “attempting to abolish the constitutional order” after Erdogan criticised the court’s decision.
Rights groups and western governments have viewed Kavala’s case as a critical test for the independence of Turkey’s judiciary and the rule of law.
In a rare statement released on Monday, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, and the US called for a “just and speedy resolution” to Kavala’s case.
“The continuing delays in his trial… cast a shadow over respect for democracy, the rule of law and transparency in the Turkish judiciary system,” they said.
The embassies called on Turkey to follow the rulings of the Council of Europe, a human rights body it joined in 1950.
Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu had hit out at the embassies’ statement on Twitter late on Monday.
“It is not acceptable for ambassadors to make a recommendation or suggestion to the judiciary for an ongoing case,” Soylu said. “Your recommendation and suggestion throws a shadow over your understanding of law and democracy.”
In a speech to a crowd in northwest Turkey’s Eskisehir Mr Erdogan said:
“I gave the necessary order to our foreign minister and said what must be done: these 10 ambassadors must be declared persona non grata at once. You will sort it out immediately.” / Argumentum.al