- Turkish businessman and philanthropist, Osman Kavala, has been held in jail without conviction since late 2017.
- Kavala faces a large number of charges, including alleged financing of anti-Erdogan protests and participating in the botched 2016 coup.
- Kavala’s supporters believe him to be a political prisoner, targeted for his human rights work in Erdogan’s ‘increasingly authoritarian’ Turkey.
During a public speech today, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that he has given orders to the country’s foreign minister to declare 10 foreign ambassadors to Turkey, including US envoy, ‘persona non grata’.
“I gave the necessary instructions to our foreign minister, I said that you will handle the denunciation of the 10 ambassadors as soon as possible,” Erdogan said.
Erdogan‘s rage was prompted by a joint statement, released by the 10 ambassadors earlier this week.
The envoys urged a speedy and just resolution to the case of Osman Kavala – a Turkish businessman and philanthropist held in jail without conviction since late 2017. Kavala faces a large number of charges, including alleged financing of anti-Erdogan protests and participating in the botched 2016 coup. Kavala’s supporters, however, believe him to be a political prisoner, targeted for his human rights work in Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian Turkey.
The joint statement was published to mark the fourth anniversary of Kavala’s first arrest. The businessman has already been tried and acquitted twice on charges related to the 2013 Gezi Park unrest and the 2016 failed coup. This, however, has not done Kavala any good, as orders for his release have been overruled with new charges immediately after the acquittals.
Immediately after the release of the joint statement, envoys of Germany, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the US were summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry over their “irresponsible” statement and “politicizing [of] the Kavala case.”