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Sunday December 05, 2021

Erdogan orders expulsion of 10 ambassadors

By AFP
October 24, 2021
Erdogan orders expulsion of 10 ambassadors

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday told his foreign minister to expel the ambassadors of 10 countries including Germany and the United States who appealed for the release of a jailed civil society leader."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.A declaration of persona non grata against a diplomat usually means that individual is banned from remaining in their host country.

He did not set a firm date.

"They must know and understand Turkey," he added, accusing the envoys of "indecency".

"They must leave here the day they no longer know Turkey," he said of the ambassadors.

The envoys issued a highly unusual joint statement on Monday saying the continued detention of Parisian-born philanthropist and activist Osman Kavala "cast a shadow" over Turkey.

The US, Germany, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden called for a "just and speedy resolution to (Kavala´s) case".

Kavala has been in jail without a conviction since 2017, and faces a string of alternating charges linked to 2013 anti-government protests and a failed military coup in 2016.

He has become a symbol of the sweeping crackdown Erdogan unleashed after surviving the coup attempt.

Speaking to AFP from his jail cell last week, Kavala said he felt like a tool in Erdogan´s attempts to blame a foreign plot for domestic opposition to his nearly two-decade rule.

The Council of Europe, the continent´s top human rights watchdog, has issued a final warning to Turkey to comply with a 2019 European Court of Human Rights order to release Kavala pending trial.

If Turkey fails to do so by its next meeting on November 30-December 2, the Strasbourg-based council could vote to launch its first disciplinary proceedings against Ankara.

International observers and human rights groups have repeatedly called for the release of Kavala and Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas, who has been jailed since 2016. They say their imprisonment is based on political considerations. Ankara denies the claims and insists on the independence of Turkish courts.

The European Court of Human Rights called for Kavala’s release in 2019, saying his incarceration acted to silence him and wasn’t supported by evidence of an offense. The Council of Europe says it will start infringement proceedings again Turkey at the end of November if Kavala is not released.

The current US ambassador, David Satterfield, was appointed in 2019. The nomination of his replacement, Jeff Flake, was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday.