Status: 25.10.2021 8:28 p.m.
The Turkish head of state Erdogan has refrained from expelling Western diplomats. The ambassadors gave in, said Erdogan. They had previously stated that they would not interfere in internal affairs.
The Turkish head of state Recep Tayyip Erdogan has moved away from the threatened expulsion of Western diplomats. The ambassadors had “withdrawn” and would be “more cautious in the future,” said Erdogan after a cabinet meeting in Ankara. The Turkish president interpreted the cautious reaction of Germany and other countries as giving in.
The ambassadors had “turned around the defamation of our judiciary and our country,” said Erdogan. “Our intention was not to create a crisis.” It was only about protecting the sovereign rights of Turkey. Those who do not respect Turkey’s independence and the sensitivities of the Turks are not welcomed in this country, said Erdogan. No matter what status the person has.
Threatened expulsion from Turkey
The Turkish head of state had previously caused a diplomatic scandal by announcing that he would have ten Western ambassadors declared “undesirable persons” – in protest against a show of solidarity with the imprisoned Turkish entrepreneur and cultural promoter Osman Kavala. The classification, also known as “persona non grata”, is usually followed by expulsion from the host country.
The ambassadors of Germany, the USA, France and seven other countries had called for Kavala to be released. The 64-year-old has been in custody in Istanbul since 2017, although the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ordered his release in 2019. He is accused of supporting the Gezi protests in Istanbul in 2013, which were critical of the government, and of instigating an attempted coup. He is also accused of “political and military espionage” in connection with the attempted coup in 2016. Critics see the allegations as politically motivated.
Declaration on compliance with the Vienna Convention
After the threatened expulsion of their diplomats, the US embassy and other embassies concerned published a declaration on Twitter that they would adhere to the Vienna Convention not to interfere in the internal affairs of the host country. The US mission in Turkey had published a declaration on compliance with the Vienna Convention on Twitter. The German embassy shared the opinion.
The Turkish state news agency Anadolu interpreted this as a concession to Turkey and tweeted for its part: “The US embassy in Ankara has given way”. She also reported that Erdogan welcomed the statements. Canada, New Zealand and the Netherlands also posted a statement to that effect.
“Concern and incomprehension” in the federal government
The federal government had commented on the diplomatic dispute in the afternoon. The government took note of the statements “with concern and also with incomprehension,” said government spokesman Steffen Seibert. He called the German-Turkish relations a “very important relationship for our foreign policy”. Nevertheless, concerns about certain developments in Turkey are always openly addressed, said Seibert.
In addition to the ambassadors from Germany and the USA, there are representatives from France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Canada and New Zealand. Several of these countries are allied with Turkey in NATO.