Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday that he had ordered 10 foreign ambassadors who called for the release of the jailed philanthropist, businessman and human rights activis Osman Kavala to be declared persona non grata. “I gave the instruction to our foreign minister and said ‘You will immediately handle the persona non grata declaration of these 10 ambassadors,'” Erdogan said during a rally in the western city of Eskisehir. Targeted are the ambassadors of Canada, France, Finland, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the United States of America. Earlier this week they issued a statement calling on a resolution for the case of Osman Kavala. “Noting the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights on the matter, we call for Turkey to secure his urgent release,” the statement asked. Erdogan claimed in his speech Saturday that the countries will “know and understand Turkey,” adding that “the day they do not know and understand Turkey, they will leave,” according to news agencies.
Osman Kavala was acquitted in 2020 of charges related to nationwide protests in 2013 but was also charged relating to a 2016 coup attempt. “Since there is no possibility of a fair trial under these circumstances, I believe participating in hearings and delivering my defence will be meaningless from now on,” Kavala said in a written statement. The European Court of Human Rights called for Kavala’s release in 2019 and the Council of Europe says it will start infringement proceedings against Turkey at the end of November.