Erdogan orders the dismissal of 10 ambassadors, including the US envoy
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday he had ordered 10 foreign ambassadors who demanded the release of a jailed philanthropist to be declared 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 resolution of the case of Osman Kavala, a businessman and philanthropist who has since been jailed. 2017 although he was not convicted of a felony.
Describing the statement as “impudence,” Erdogan said he ordered the ambassadors to be declared undesirable.
“I gave instructions to our foreign minister and said ‘You will immediately deal with the persona non grata declaration of these 10 ambassadors,'” Erdogan said at a rally in the western town 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 the individual is prohibited from remaining in his host country.
Kavala, 64, was acquitted last year of charges related to nationwide anti-government protests in 2013, but the decision was overturned and joined to charges related to an attempted coup in 2016.
International observers and human rights groups have repeatedly called for the release of Kavala and Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas, imprisoned since 2016. They claim their imprisonment is politically motivated. Ankara denies the allegations and insists on the independence of the Turkish courts.
The European Court of Human Rights called for Kavala’s release in 2019, saying his incarceration acted to silence him and was not supported by evidence of an offense.
The Council of Europe has announced that it will re-initiate infringement proceedings against Turkey at the end of November if Kavala is not released.
The current US Ambassador, David Satterfield, was appointed in 2019. The appointment of his replacement, Jeff Flake, was approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday.