Kavala case: dispute reaches a new level of escalation

Status: 23.10.2021 8:10 p.m.

The Turkish President Erdogan wants the German and nine other Western ambassadors to be declared “persona non grata”. The dispute over the activist Kavala has thus reached a new level of escalation.

By Karin Senz, ARD-Studio Istanbul

It was exactly a week ago that Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stood in Istanbul under a bright blue sky and demonstrated harmony. Of course, not all of the questions could be clarified. For example, when it comes to human rights, Merkel said. Then the German Chancellor said goodbye and obviously took the harmony with her.

Karin Senz
ARD-Studio Istanbul

Only a few days later, Erdogan attacked her ambassador Jürgen Schulz and nine of his colleagues, including the US ambassador and other NATO allies. Turkish media quoted the head of state as saying, which was addressed to the ambassadors: “Who are you anyway? Are you entitled to teach Turkey a lesson?”

Turkey declares the German ambassador and nine counterparts from other countries to be undesirable persons

Oliver Mayer-Rüth, ARD Istanbul, daily news 8:00 p.m., 23.10.2021

It didn’t seem to be enough for Erdogan

It is about a topic that is clearly annoying to the president: It is the case of the Turkish patron of culture Osman Kavala. He has been in prison for four years for allegedly co-initiating and financing the Gezi Park protests in 2013. Ten Western ambassadors, including Schulz, published an appeal earlier this week. They demanded that Turkey release the 64-year-old immediately and thus implement a judgment of the European Court of Human Rights.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs then called in the ambassadors in Ankara – actually a strong diplomatic tool. It didn’t seem to be enough for Erdogan. “How dare you come to the Turkish Foreign Ministry and give orders. I gave our Foreign Minister the necessary instructions and told them what to do: These ten ambassadors must be declared undesirable persons immediately,” he announced to one Address in Eskisehir in Anatolia.

48 hours deadline

On the website of the German Foreign Office is detailed what that means. The home countries of the diplomats concerned must recall them or they must leave the country within a period of time. As a rule, this period is 48 hours. The German government has not yet issued any response.

Erdogan added again in his speech with a view to the ambassadors: “They will recognize and understand and know Turkey. Or they will leave the day they no longer understand Turkey.” This has escalated the dispute over the patron of culture and the cuddle course, which was demonstrated again last weekend, ended for the time being.


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