European Parliament President Sassoli’s response to Erdoğan: We will not give up, freedom for Kavala
The ambassadors of the United States, Germany, France, Denmark, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Canada, and New Zealand released a joint statement in Ankara last week, calling on the Turkish judiciary to take action for the immediate release of the human rights activist Osman Kavala, who has been imprisoned for four years.
The Turkish president, Erdoğan reacted immediately saying, “I have told our Foreign Affairs Minister that we don’t have the luxury of accommodating such types in our country”, and the ambassadors who had called for Kavala’s release were summoned to the ministry.
Yesterday, 23 October, Erdoğan ordered the foreign ministry to declare the ambassadors of ten western countries ‘persona non grata’.
“I gave the necessary order to our foreign minister and said what must be done: These ten ambassadors must be declared persona non grata at once. You will sort it out immediately, they will know and understand Turkey. The day they do not know and understand Turkey, they will leave,” Erdoğan said.
There have been reactions came from around the world criticising Erdoğan following these statements, and stating that his action signals the authoritarian drift of the Turkish government.
Persisting in the demand for freedom for Kavala, David Sassoli, the President of the European Parliament wrote in his personal Twitter account:
“The expulsion of ten ambassadors is a sign of the authoritarian drift of the Turkish government. We will not be intimidated.
Freedom for Osman Kavala.”
Meanwhile, Trude Måseide, Head of Communications at Norway’s Foreign Ministry said, ” Our ambassador has done nothing to warrant expulsion.”
Heiko Maas, Germany’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, said in a statement that they were ‘in intensive discussions’ with officials from the nine other countries.
The Danish Foreign Ministry said that ambassador Danny Annan had received no official communication that he was to leave Turkey. “We will continue to be sensitive about our principles and common values,” the Ministry said.
Kati Piri, Dutch parliamentarian and former European Parliament Rapporteur for Turkey, said on her social media account that Ankara should implement decisions ofthe European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and that the whole of the EU should support the ambassadors who have been declared ‘persona non grata’.