HELSINKI The decision of the Turkish authorities to declare 10 foreign ambassadors including seven Europeans persona non grata is a “harsh reaction” and “regrettable”, declared Sunday the Prime Minister of Finland.
The 10 ambassadors called for the release of businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala who was jailed in 2017 after not being convicted of a crime in a joint statement last week.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the statement was impudence and ordered the ambassadors to be declared undesirable.
I gave the instruction to our foreign minister and said that you will immediately deal with the persona non grata statement of these 10 ambassadors, Erdogan told his supporters at a rally in Eskisehir.
They will recognize, understand and know Turkey. The day they don’t know or understand Turkey, they will leave.
The diplomats, including the ambassadors of France, Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, New Zealand and the United States, were summoned to the ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin told state broadcaster YLE on Sunday that “this is a harsh reaction” from Erdogan.
It is a very unfortunate situation. We considered it important that the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights be respected and respected, and therefore called for the release of this human rights activist, Marin said.
She also said that Helsinki was engaged in a dialogue with Turkish officials and was awaiting further information from Ankara before drawing any conclusions.
As of Sunday afternoon, none of the four Nordic countries had received an official notification from the Turkish Foreign Ministry that their ambassadors were labeled with persona non grata status.
However, I can say that we were in close contact with our friends and allies about this matter, Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod told TV2 on Saturday evening.
A declaration of persona non grata against a diplomat usually means that an individual is prohibited from remaining in their host country.
Kavala, 64, was acquitted last year of charges related to nationwide anti-government protests in 2013, but the decision was overturned and joined to charges related to an attempted coup in 2016.
International observers and human rights groups have repeatedly called for the release of Kavala and Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas, imprisoned since 2016.
They say their imprisonment is based on political considerations. Ankara denies the allegations and insists on the independence of the Turkish courts.
The European Court of Human Rights called for Kavala’s release in 2019, saying his incarceration acted to silence him and was not supported by evidence of an offense. The Council of Europe has announced that it will re-initiate infringement proceedings against Turkey at the end of November if Kavala is not released. Agencies
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