Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday he ordered 10 foreign ambassadors to demand the release of a philanthropist jailed for declaring him persona non grata.
The envoys, including representatives of the United States, France and Germany in Ankara, issued a statement earlier this week calling for a solution to the case of Osman Kavala, a businessman and philanthropist detained since 2017 although he was imprisoned. convicted of a felony.
Erdogan called the statement “rude” and said he ordered the ambassadors to be declared persona non grata.
“I gave instructions to our foreign minister and said: ‘You will immediately deal with the declaration of persona non grata of these 10 ambassadors,” Erdogan said at a meeting in the western town of Eskisehir.
He added: “They will get to know, understand and know Turkey. The day they don’t know or understand Turkey, they will leave. “
The diplomats, including the ambassadors of the Netherlands, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and New Zealand, were summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Tuesday.
Declaring no persona persona non grata to a diplomat usually means preventing the person from staying in the host country.
Kavala, 64, was acquitted last year of charges related to nationwide anti-government protests in 2013, but the verdict was overturned and he joined charges related to the 2016 coup attempt .
International observers and human rights groups have repeatedly called for the release of Kavala and Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas, imprisoned since 2016. They say their imprisonment is based on political considerations. Ankara denies the charges and calls for the independence of Turkish courts.
The European Court of Human Rights called for Kavala’s release in 2019, saying his arrest silenced him and was not supported by any evidence of a crime. The Council of Europe has announced that it will start new abuse proceedings against Turkey at the end of November if Kavala is not released.
Current U.S. Ambassador David Satterfield was appointed in 2019. The appointment of his replacement, Jeff Flake, was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday.
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