Erdogan Walks Back Threat To Expel Envoys of 10 Western Countries
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan walked back his threat to expel the ambassadors of 10 Western countries who called for the release of Osman Kavala, a philanthropist who has been in jail since 2017 on charges of financing protests throughout the country in 2013, as well as being involved in a 2016 failed coup attempt. He denies the charges.
Following a Cabinet meeting on Monday called to discuss the diplomatic standoff, Erdogan said the envoys had learned their lesson and “will be more careful now.”
He made the statement after the United States and several of the other Western countries issued statements saying they respected a United Nations convention that required diplomats not to interfere in the host country’s domestic affairs.
The ambassadors of Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, New Zealand and the United States in a statement issued last week called for Kavala’s release and a resolution to the case. Erdogan responded to the statement by ordering the country’s foreign minister to declare the ambassadors as persona non grata, the step before expulsion. Seven of the countries are Turkey’s NATO allies.