Turkey will expel 10 foreign ambassadors, including the United States envoy, for calling for the urgent release of a jailed philanthropist, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday.
The US, along with France and Germany, signed a statement condemning the wrongful imprisonment of Osman Kavala, who has been behind bars since 2017 without having been formally charged of any crime.
In response, Erdogan declared the diplomats of 10 countries unwelcome in Ankara, including the ambassadors of the Netherlands, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and New Zealand.
“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, according to The Associated Press.
“They will recognize, understand and know Turkey. The day they don’t know or understand Turkey, they will leave,” he added.
Kavala, 64, was acquitted last year on charges stemming from national anti-government protests in 2013, however that ruling was overturned and new charges added, a practice condemned by the U.S. Embassy in Turkey.
“The continuing delays in his trial, including by merging different cases and creating new ones after a previous acquittal, cast a shadow over respect for democracy, the rule of law and transparency in the Turkish judiciary system,” the embassy said in a statement.
With Post Wires