Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan instructed the Ministry of Diplomacy to recognize 10 Western ambassadors as personae non gratae. The “black list” includes, inter alia, representatives of the USA, Germany and France. The reason is a joint appeal by diplomats to the Turkish authorities to release the opposition philanthropist and activist Osman Kavala.
Ambassadors of Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, New Zealand, USA, France and Germany were summoned to the Foreign Ministry in Ankara on Tuesday following a statement in which they wrote, inter alia, that the Kavala case “casts a shadow on respect for democracy” and called on Turkey to urgently release the activist.
“I have instructed the minister of foreign affairs to grant these ten ambassadors the status of” persona non grata “as soon as possible, said President Erdogan. He did not give a date by which diplomats would leave Turkey.
Opposition philanthropist in prison
Osman Kavala is a businessman, patron and founder of many cultural and civic organizations in the country, called by Erdogan “the red (George) Soros of Turkey”. He was detained in October 2017 and charged with organizing thousands of anti-government protests at Istanbul’s Gezi Park in 2013.
Although the court cleared him of the charges in March, Kavala remained in a detention facility in Silivri near Istanbul, this time on charges of espionage and involvement in the failed July 2016 coup.
Main photo source: Wiktor Dąbkowski / PAP