Turkey summons 10 envoys over call for philanthropist's release

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gives a statement after a cabinet meeting in Ankara, Turkey, May 17, 2021. Erdogan said that Turkey had on Monday had killed a top Kurdish commander in Iraq. (Photo: R
(Photo: Jordan News)
ANKARA — Turkey on Tuesday summoned the envoys of 10 countries, including Germany and the United States, after they called for the release of a civil society leader whose jailing has upset Ankara's relations with the West.اضافة اعلان

Parisian-born philanthropist and activist Osman Kavala, 64, has been in jail without a conviction since 2017, becoming a symbol of President Recept Tayyip Erdogan's growing intolerance of dissent.

The Turkish activist faces a string of charges linked to 2013 anti-government protests and a failed military putsch in 2016. Kavala denies the accusations.
In a statement Monday, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the US called for a "just and speedy resolution to his case".

"The continuing delays in his trial ... cast a shadow over respect for democracy, the rule of law and transparency in the Turkish judiciary system," they said.

The embassies called on Turkey to follow the rulings of the Council of Europe, a human rights body it joined in 1950.

The Council of Europe has warned that it would launch disciplinary proceedings against Turkey "in the event that (Kavala) is not released before" the human rights body's next meeting on November 30-December 2.
Kavala's next court hearing is set for November 26.

The ambassadors and charge d'affaires arrived at the foreign ministry in Ankara on Tuesday morning, the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

The diplomats were notified their statement "overstepped boundaries" and "attempted to politicize the legal process and pressure the judiciary,” the ministry said.

"They were told that the focus on only Turkey-related court cases, especially Kavala's, insisting on keeping it on the agenda, was an insincere approach filled with double standards."

'Not acceptable'

Multiple issues have weighed on Turkey's relations with the West, especially Europe, including Ankara's crackdown on opponents after a failed coup in 2016.

Tensions were also heightened by Turkey's energy exploration in disputed eastern Mediterranean waters last year.

Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu hit out at the embassies' statement late Monday.

"It is not acceptable for ambassadors to make a recommendation or suggestion to the judiciary for an ongoing case," Soylu said on Twitter.

"Your recommendation and suggestion throws a shadow over your understanding of law and democracy."

Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul late Monday said that "no ambassador had the right to make a recommendation or suggestion to our courts" on Twitter.

"It is this ignorance of limits and boundaries that throws a shadow over the rule of law," Gul said.

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