Erdoğan, USA embassy

10 foreign embassies respond to Erdoğan in controversy over Kavala case

Erdoğan demanded the expulsion of the 10 ambassadors on Saturday, accusing them of interfering in Turkey’s internal politics.

10 foreign embassies in Turkey responded on Monday to Erdoğan via Twitter regarding the controversy over the Kavala case, reiterating their commitment to Article 41 of the Vienna Convention, which stipulates that diplomats must not interfere in the internal affairs of the States in which they serve, days after several Turkish politicians including the country’s president reacted adversely to a joint statement from the embassies calling for the release of businessman Osman Kavala, currently in prison.

The United States embassy in Ankara assured through a brief statement on its official Twitter profile that it “maintains its compliance with Article 41 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations” in response to the “questions regarding the 18th October statement”.

Shortly after, the ambassadors of the Netherlands, Canada, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and New Zealand retweeted the message of the US embassy in Turkey: actions that, according to presidential sources in Turkey cited by Turkish press, were well received and considered positive by Erdoğan.

On October 18th, the embassies of the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden, France and Germany issued a joint statement asking Turkey for the urgent release of the Turkish businessman Osman Kavala, in prison and awaiting trial since 2017.

Erdoğan demanded the expulsion of the 10 signing ambassadors

Kavala and eight others are charged for their alleged role in the 2013 riots in the wake of the Gezi Park protests in Istanbul, although they were acquitted of all charges in February 2020; however, an appeals court annulled that sentence in January 2021, and the Turkish justice determined that Kavala must remain in prison until a new hearing scheduled for next November 26th establishes whether he should be released or not. The businessman is also accused of his alleged participation in the 2016 failed coup (currently both cases are merged in just one).

The October 18th communiqué unleashed a strong reaction from the Turkish government, which considered it an intolerable intrusion into the decisions of the country’s judicial system, and contrary to what is stipulated in the Vienna Convention, which in its Article 41 emphasizes that diplomatic envoys “they have the duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of that State” in which they serve, and that all relations with said State “must be conducted through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.”

Following this statement, on Saturday President Erdoğan himself had requested the expulsion of the ambassadors who signed on behalf of the 10 foreign embassies, after instructing the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to declare them “persona non grata”.