Erdogan to Expel 10 Western Ambassadors from Turkey
jpnn.com, ANKARA - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he had ordered the Turkish Foreign Ministry to expel 10 Western ambassadors because they were pressing for the release of philanthropist Osman Kavala.
"I have given the necessary orders to the foreign minister and said what must be done is (that) these ten ambassadors must all be declared persona non grata (no longer accepted). You will finish them soon," Erdogan said in a speech on Saturday (10/23).
The expulsion of the 10 ambassadors, seven of whom represent governments of Turkey's allies in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), would be the most severe diplomatic rift with the West in Erdogan's 19 years in power.
Kavala has been in prison for four years. He was charged after funding a series of protests across Turkey in 2013, as well as being involved in an attempted coup in 2016.
Kavala denies the charges and remains in custody as the trial goes on.
In a joint statement dated October 18, the ambassadors of Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, New Zealand and the United States issued a call for the Kavala case to be resolved fairly and for the philanthropist to be released.
The ambassadors were later summoned by the Turkish Foreign Ministry, who called the joint statement an irresponsible act.
"They will know and understand Turkey. Once they don't know and don't understand Turkey, they have to leave," Erdogan said.