Dispute over detained activists: Erdogan threatens ambassadors with expulsion

Status: October 21, 2021 3:07 p.m.

The conflict over the Turkish human rights activist Kavala is coming to a head. In an incendiary speech, head of state Erdogan threatened ten western ambassadors with deportation. They had previously requested the release of Kavala.

In the dispute over the imprisoned Turkish human rights activist Osman Kavala, head of state Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to expel the German and US ambassadors and eight other ambassadors from Western countries, according to media reports.

“We cannot have the luxury of welcoming them to our country,” said Erdogan, according to a report by the state news agency Anadolu. “Is it your place to teach Turkey such a lesson? Who are you already?” Continued Erdogan. Germany or the USA did not simply let “crooks, murderers and terrorists” go free.

EMGR demanded release as early as 2019

The embassies of Germany, the USA and eight other countries in Ankara published a call on Monday in which they called for the release of Kavala, with reference to judgments by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). He has been in prison for four years without a conviction. The Turkish Foreign Ministry then summoned the ambassadors concerned.

Among the appointed diplomats were, besides the German and the USA, also the representatives of France and the Netherlands. The ECtHR had already requested Kavala’s release in 2019. Turkey has so far ignored the judgment, although as a member of the Council of Europe it is actually obliged to implement it.

Kavala faces life imprisonment

Kavala was originally arrested on charges of funding and organizing the anti-government Gezi protests in Istanbul in 2013. In February last year, a court acquitted him of the charge. Kavala was released from prison after two and a half years in prison, but arrested again a few hours later – this time in connection with the attempted coup against Erdogan in 2016 and allegations of espionage.

In January this year, an appeals court overturned the first acquittal. If convicted of espionage charges, Kavala faces life imprisonment. Kavala’s next trial is scheduled for November 26th.

Erdogan indirectly threatens Western ambassadors with expulsion

Karin Senz, ARD Istanbul, October 21, 2021 3:28 p.m.


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