The ambassadors, including the head of diplomatic missions of the United States, France and Germany, criticized Turkish justice earlier this week for “delaying” the trial of businessman Osman Kavala, who has been in custody for four years, and called for Ankara’s immediate release.
Osman Kavala is currently on trial in Turkey, which has received widespread international attention because the man has been in prison for four years without being convicted so far.
Kavala, 64, was first arrested in 2017 in connection with organizing demonstrations at Gezi Park. Although the court and his associates were acquitted in February 2020 for insufficient evidence, Kavala was also prosecuted a few hours later for the attempted military coup on July 15, 2016.
Erdogan described the ambassadors’ announcement as “rude” and announced that he had ordered the diplomats to declare them persona non grata.
“I have issued instructions to our foreign minister: the document declaring the handover of the undesirable person to the 10 ambassadors without delay,” Erdogan said in a speech to the General Assembly in Eskisehir, western Turkey.
Ambassadors, including diplomats from the Netherlands, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and New Zealand, were summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Thursday.
International observers and human rights organizations have repeatedly called on the Turkish authorities to release Kavala and Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas, who has been detained since 2016, claiming that they are being held in prison for political reasons.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of Kavala’s release in 2019, arguing that he was wanted to be silenced by his imprisonment and that the accusation was not supported by any evidence. Osman Kavala is currently on trial in Turkey, which has received widespread international attention because the man has been in prison for four years without being convicted so far.
Last month, the Council of Europe, of which Turkey has been a member almost from the start, indicated it would initiate abuse proceedings against Ankara if it did not release Kavala, in line with the European Court of Human Rights ruling.
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