Erdogan Cancelled his Decision to Declare Ambassadors of 10 Western Countries Persona Non Grata
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has given up his announced intention to declare the ambassadors of 10 Western countries, including the United States and Germany, persona non grata.
The reason for the tension was a call by the embassies of these countries in Turkey for the release of the activist Osman Kavala, who has been in prison for four years without a sentence.
Earlier today, authorities in Berlin and Paris announced that they had not received official information about Ankara's intentions to declare the ambassadors of 10 Western countries, including Germany and France, persona non grata.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's decision on Saturday was prompted by the common position of the 10 countries, which called for a fair trial against Turkish activist Osman Kavala.
On Sunday, the US State Department demanded an explanation for the Turkish president's decision. And European Parliament President David Sasoli described Turkey's actions as an authoritarian trend.
Turkey's relations with its Western allies have been marked by their deepest crisis since the beginning of Recep Tayyip Erdogan's 19-year rule, AFP reported.
In anticipation of the decision of the Turkish government, the reactions from Berlin and Paris came today.
Germany said it was in "close co-operation and consultation with threat-affected partners" and noted that there had been no official notification from Turkey. A government spokesman in Berlin, Stefan Seibert, said authorities were concerned and puzzled by the Turkish president's comments.
If Erdogan expels the diplomats, it would not be in line with the two countries' close bilateral relations and their co-operation within NATO, Seibert said.
The French Foreign Ministry announced that so far the country has not received any official information from Turkey on the issue.
The crisis began after the embassies in Turkey of the United States, Germany, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Sweden urged the release of Osman Kavala. The ambassadors' letter said the trial against the activist cast a shadow over democracy, the rule of law and transparency in Turkey.
And Turkey's foreign ministry described their position as interference in the country's judiciary.
Kavala, a 64-year-old activist and businessman, has been in prison for four years without a conviction.
He was acquitted last year of charges related to the 2013 anti-government protests in Istanbul's Gezi Park.
The acquittal was overturned and he was charged with espionage and attempting to overthrow the government during the 2016 coup attempt.
If convicted now, he could receive a life sentence without the right to appeal.
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