The President of Turkey requested that the ambassadors of Norway and nine other countries be declared persona non grata in the country. The ten demanded the release of activist Othman Kavala.
“I have asked our foreign minister to declare these 10 ambassadors persona non grata as soon as possible,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said at a rally in Eskisehir, western Turkey, on Saturday.
The term is used in diplomacy around the first step before deportation. Erdogan did not give a specific date, and it is not clear whether it will lead to the expulsion of the ambassadors, most of whom are from NATO allies.
Late that evening, several European countries said they had not received any official notification from Turkey.
The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also said earlier on Saturday that the Norwegian Embassy in Ankara does not do so.
Summon on the carpet
Earlier this week, Erdogan threatened to expel the 10 ambassadors who on October 18 published a highly unusual memoir. statment.
There they criticize the treatment of Paris-born philanthropist, businessman and activist Osman Kavala (64). He has been imprisoned since October 2017 without penalty.
The next day, Norwegian Ambassador Erling Skjonesberg and ambassadors from the United States of America, Germany, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Sweden were summoned to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
will not speculate
– We do not want to speculate on other reactions from the Turkish authorities. Our ambassador did nothing that provided grounds for the deportation, Director of Communications Trud Mosaide wrote in an email to NTB on Saturday.
She stressed that Norway will continue to urge Turkey to comply with its human rights obligations.
– We are in extensive consultations with the other nine countries included, says the German Foreign Ministry.
Four years in prison
Kavala has been portrayed as a symbol of Erdogan’s growing intolerance of critics. International observers and human rights activists have repeatedly called on Turkey to release Kavala and Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş. The latter has been imprisoned since 2016, and his critics believe they are both imprisoned for political reasons.
Turkey denies this and insists on the independence of the judiciary.
Kavala was imprisoned in 2017 for his alleged role in the demonstrations and uprising in Istanbul’s Gezi Park four years earlier. Since then, Kavala has been the subject of a number of accusations, which he denies.
EMD . resolution
In their statement, the ambassadors referred to a decision of the European Court of Human Rights accusing Turkey of violating the Human Rights Convention by keeping Kavala in prison.
“We ask Turkey to ensure his immediate release,” the statement said.
It is further alleged that the case against Kavala “overshadows respect for democracy, the rule of law and openness in the Turkish judiciary”.
accusations of obscenity
Erdogan accuses ambassadors of “obscenity”.
“They should know and understand Turkey,” the president said on Saturday.
“They should leave on the day they no longer know Turkey,” Erdogan said.
Erdogan’s order comes at the end of a turbulent week for Turkey. On Thursday, the country was placed on the global money laundering body’s FATF gray list for deficiencies in combating money laundering and terrorist financing.
At the same time, the exchange rate continued to depreciate out of fear of economic mismanagement and because of the risks of hyperinflation.
When Erdogan first threatened to expel ambassadors on Thursday, the lira plunged to its lowest level against the dollar. The annual inflation rate has reached nearly 20 percent, which is four times higher than the government’s target.
His innocence and arrest
Demonstrations in Gezi Park in 2013 gradually developed into a larger protest movement.
The prosecution claimed at the trial that the protesters wanted to overthrow the Turkish regime, which the defendants rejected.
Kavala was acquitted last year of the charges of participating in the demonstrations, but was immediately arrested after that.
He was again charged with espionage and involvement in the 2016 coup attempt. He is thus imprisoned for four years without being convicted.
life imprisonment risks
“The real reason I’m still in prison is the government’s need to keep alive the illusion that the Gezi protests were the result of an outside conspiracy,” Kavala told AFP earlier in October.
– Since I am accused of being part of this alleged conspiracy by foreign powers, my release will impair the current performance, and the government will not like it, Kavala believes.
The next court hearing in his case will be held on November 26.
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