Turkish President Recep Tayyip ErdoÄan has ordered the expulsion of ambassadors from his main NATO allies and Western investors, in what his opponents have called a reckless political coup.
âI gave the necessary order to our Minister of Foreign Affairs and I said what should be done: ‘These 10 ambassadors must be declared’ persona non grata ‘immediately. -western Turkey, Saturday (October 23).
“They will recognize, understand and know Turkey. The day they do not know or understand Turkey, they will leave,” he added, Reuters reported.
Being designated “persona non grata” means that diplomats lose their immunity and other privileges and usually go home because they can no longer do their jobs.
The 10 ambassadors – from Canada, France, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the United States – had previously angered ErdoÄan by calling for a “fair and speedy” trial for the Turkish philanthropist Osman Kavala.
France, Finland, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United States are Turkey’s NATO allies.
The United States is its main supplier of arms. Germany is also its main trading partner and the Netherlands is its biggest foreign investor.
Kavala has been held for more than four years on charges, including involvement in the failed anti-ErdoÄan coup in 2016.
Most of the targeted countries and the EU had not responded on Monday.
But German Liberal MP Alexander Lambsdorff said it would be “reckless, undiplomatic and weakening the cohesion of [Nato]”, while Claudia Roth, a German Green MP, said that” ErdoÄan’s unscrupulous actions against his critics are becoming more and more uninhibited. ”
The Norwegian envoy had “done nothing to justify deportation,” his foreign ministry also told Reuters.
Meanwhile, ErdoÄan’s political opponents saw the move as a blow to popularity, after his AKP party collapsed to just 30 percent support amid economic unrest.
“The reason for these measures is not to protect national interests but to create artificial reasons to ruin the economy,” said the leader of the opposition “CHP” party, Kemal KÄ±lÄ±Ã§daroÄlu.
This would “bring Turkey’s loneliness on the international stage to an irreparable level,” added CHP shadow foreign minister Ãnal ÃevikÃ¶z.
“This terrifying statement will strengthen Turkey’s image as a worn-out country similar to African dictatorships,” said AydÄ±n Sezgin, an MP from the ‘Ä°YÄ°’ party.
“I still hope Ankara doesn’t go all the way,” added Sinan Ãlgen, a former Turkish ambassador who now works with the Carnegie Europe think tank.
Speaking earlier in the week, the 10 ambassadors said Kavala’s detention had “cast a shadow over respect for democracy, the rule of law and the transparency of the Turkish judicial system.”
Meanwhile, ErdoÄan called Kavala a “scum of Soros”, as well as a “bandit”, “murderer” and “terrorist”.
“These toxic comments by the president on a case currently before the courts are yet another attack on Turkey’s supposedly independent legal system,” said Mark Malloch-Brown, director of the Open Society, a New York-based charity. and owned by philanthropist George Soros, for whom Kavala previously worked, said.
Kavala himself refused to attend the hearings to protest what he called his show trial.
And the European Commission, in a report on Turkey-EU relations last week, also painted a sad picture of ErdoÄan’s regime.
âThe EU’s serious concerns about the continued deterioration of democracy, the rule of law, fundamental rights and the independence of the judiciary have not been taken into account. [since 2020]. There has been a further setback in many areas, âhe said.
âUnder the current circumstances, Turkey [EU] membership negotiations have effectively stalled, “he added, in one of his most difficult reports since the start of membership talks in 2005.
The commission’s opinions were “unfounded,” ErdoÄan’s Foreign Ministry said.