Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he has ordered 10 ambassadors, including those of the US and France, to be declared “persona non grata”.
It follows a statement from envoys calling for the urgent release of activist Osman Kavala.
He was in prison for more than four years for protests and a coup attempt, although he was not convicted.
The persona non grata can remove diplomatic status and often involves the expulsion or withdrawal of recognition of envoys.
This week’s statement on Kavala came jointly from the embassies from the United States, Canada, France, Finland, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden.
Addressing a crowd in Eskisehir on Saturday, Erdogan said the ambassadors “cannot dare to come to the Turkish foreign ministry and give orders”.
He said: “I gave the necessary order to our foreign minister and I said what must be done. These 10 ambassadors must be declared persona non grata immediately. You will resolve it immediately.”
However, what will happen now is unclear.
Erdogan said the envoys should either understand Turkey or leave, Turkish media reported.
The foreign ministry had summoned the ambassadors on Tuesday to protest their “irresponsible” statement on the Kavala case.
The embassy communiqué criticized the “continuing delays” in the trial of Osman Kavala, which “cast a shadow over respect for democracy, the rule of law and transparency in the Turkish judicial system”.
He calls for a swift resolution and calls for “Turkey to ensure his urgent release”.
Mr. Kavala was acquitted last year of charges for nationwide protests in 2013, but was almost immediately arrested again.
The acquittal was overturned and new charges were added related to the attempted military coup against the Erdogan government in 2016.
- A brief guide to the coup in Turkey
Kavala denies any wrongdoing and critics of the Erdogan government say his case is an example of widespread repression of dissent.
Earlier this week, Erdogan defended the Turkish judicial system, stating: “I said to our foreign minister: we cannot afford the luxury of hosting all this in our country. Is it up to you to teach Turkey such a lesson? Who do you think you are? “
The Council of Europe, Europe’s leading human rights watchdog, has given Turkey a final warning to listen to a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights to free Kavala pending trial.
- Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Kavala rearrested after acquittal
- February 18, 2020
A brief guide to the coup in Turkey
- July 17, 2016
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