Erdogan orders 10 Western envoys declared 'persona non grata'

Ambassadors including from US issued highly unusual statement saying Kavala's detention ‘cast a shadow’ over Turkey


Reuters October 23, 2021
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

ISTANBUL:

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday he had ordered the foreign ministry to declare 10 ambassadors — including from the United States, Germany and France — 'persona non grata' for calling for the release of philanthropist Osman Kavala.

"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," Erdogan said in a speech to a crowd in northwest Turkey's Eskisehir.

The foreign ministry summoned the ambassadors on Tuesday for what it said was an "irresponsible" statement calling for a just and speedy resolution to Kavala's case.

He has been in prison since late 2017, charged with financing protests and participating in a failed coup, which he denies.

The 10 ambassadors issued a highly unusual joint statement on Monday — distributed widely on their Turkish social media accounts — saying Kavala's continued detention "cast a shadow" over Turkey.

"I told our foreign minister that we cannot have the luxury of hosting them in our country," Erdogan had told reporters in comments published by Turkish media.

Kavala has faced a string of alternating charges linked to 2013 anti-government protests and a failed military coup in 2016.

In their statement, 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".

(With input from AFP)

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