The Turkish president opposed the West’s appeals for the release of the intellectual Kavala, wanting to use the situation for domestic politics. He threatened to expel the ambassadors. But now he withdrew the decision.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan withdrew his statement on the non-grata declaration of Western ambassadors. Erdogan said in Ankara that “ambassadors have withdrawn from their positions” and “will be more cautious in the future”. Prior to Erdogan’s statement, the affected ambassadors had posted on Twitter a statement, according to which they adhere to the Vienna Convention not to interfere in the internal affairs of the country where they perform their service.
The US Representation in Turkey on Monday afternoon (25.10) published on Twitter a statement in compliance with the Vienna Convention. “Our goal was not to cause a crisis,” Erdogan said. We aimed to protect the sovereignty rights of Turkey.
President Erdogan sparked a scandal over the weekend when he announced that he would declare ten Western ambassadors undesirable – from protests against their declaration of solidarity with imprisoned entrepreneur and cultural supporter Osman Kavala. The declaration of person non grata is usually followed by the expulsion of persons from the country. Affected by this attitude were, among others, the German ambassador Jürgen Schulz and his colleagues from France, the USA and seven other countries.
Kavala, 64, has been under pre-trial detention in Istanbul since 2017, although the European Court of Human Rights has ordered his release in 2019. Kavala manages one of the largest publishing houses in Turkey and engages with his organization Anadolu Kültür in dialogue with ethnic groups as well as in the conflict with the Kurds or with Armenia. He is also the founder of the Turkish branch of the US Open Society Philanthropist Foundation George Soros, which is targeted by many populists./DW