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Erdogan Declares Ambassadors Persona Non Grata

Staff Writer

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday took the first steps to expel around 10 envoys from the country. Speaking to a crowd in the North Western city of Eskisehir Erdogan stated that, ““I gave the necessary order to our foreign minister and said what must be done… these 10 ambassadors must be declared persona non grata at once.” He further stated that such countries wouldn’t criticise the imprisoning of bandits and terrorists in their own countries. Persona Non Grata is a term declaring the non-recognition of diplomatic credentials and as an initial step prior to expulsion.

Erdogan’s move came after a statement issued by the envoys of ten countries, on Monday, including Norway, the US, Germany, Denmark and Finland, calling for the release of Turkish Activist and philanthropist, Osman Kavala, who was arrested in 2017 for supposedly being involved in the 2013 Gezi Park protests, and implausibly supporting the 2016 failed coup. The envoy statement criticised Kavala’s continued imprisonment as a test for the transparency and independence of the judiciary in the country and its respect for democracy and people’s rights.

Kavala, who Erdogan labelled the ‘Red Soros’ was released in February 2020. He had been held on charges of supporting the 2013 coup. However, he was rearrested soon after Erdogan criticised the decision, and now faces charges of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order. He has been imprisoned for over 1400 days, since 2017, and on Friday issued a statement stating that he would no-longer be represented at the trial since it is unlikely to be fair.

In September, the Council of Europe, a human rights body joined by Turkey in the 1950’s, issued a similar statement, calling for Kavala’s release. The Council’s ministers will now begin taking steps to sanction Turkey for its non-compliance, which may including suspending the country’s representation and voting rights.

Erdogan has reportedly grown increasingly dictatorial in recent years, instrumentalising the failed 2016 coup to imprison thousands of people and suspend hundreds of thousands from their jobs. The opposition gained the cities of Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, in the most recent 2019 municipal poll, in a sign that the AKP is losing support in the country’s metropoles, yet the party remains influential in the rest of the country, partially as a result of the weakness of the opposition.




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