Erdogan Orders Removal of Ambassadors 10/23 10:07
ISTANBUL (AP) -- 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.
The envoys, including the U.S., French and German representatives in Ankara,
issued a statement earlier this week calling for a resolution to the case of
Osman Kavala, a businessman and philanthropist held in prison since 2017
despite not having been convicted of a crime.
Describing the statement as an "impudence," Erdogan said he had ordered the
ambassadors 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.
He added: "They will recognize, understand and know Turkey. The day they
don't know or understand Turkey, they will leave."
The diplomats, who also include the ambassadors of the Netherlands, Canada,
Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and New Zealand, were summoned to the foreign
ministry on Tuesday.
A declaration of persona non grata against a diplomat usually means that
individual is banned from remaining in their host country.
Kavala, 64, was acquitted last year of charges linked to nationwide
anti-government protests in 2013, but the ruling was overturned and joined to
charges relating to a 2016 coup attempt.
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
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 U.S. ambassador, David Satterfield, was appointed in 2019. The
nomination of his replacement, Jeff Flake, was approved by the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee on Tuesday.
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