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Germany “concerned” by threat of expulsion of Turkish envoy

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FILE PHOTO Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Photo by Adem ALTAN / AFP)

BERLIN Germany raised concerns on Monday after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to expel the German ambassador to Ankara, along with those from nine other countries, for their support for the figure of opposition Osman Kavala.

“We are concerned and perplexed by the remarks made by the Turkish president,” German government spokesman Steffen Seibert told reporters.

He said Berlin was in “close consultation with partners affected by similar threats”, while noting that there had been no “formal notification from Turkey”.

If Erdogan expelled the diplomats, it would not be “in line” with the two countries’ “close bilateral relations” and their cooperation within NATO, Seibert said.

Erdogan decided on Saturday to declare ambassadors from 10 countries, including Germany and the United States, “persona non grata” for a joint statement supporting the imprisoned Kavala.

The highly unusual joint statement by the envoys last week said the continued detention of the Parisian-born philanthropist and activist “cast a shadow” on Turkey’s democracy and justice system.

The 64-year-old civil society leader and businessman has been held without conviction for four years.

Supporters see Kavala as a symbol of Erdogan’s growing intolerance of political dissent since he survived a failed military coup in 2016.

Deportation orders are officially issued by foreign ministries and none of the Western capitals had reported receiving any on Monday.

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