Turkey summons Dutch ambassador over demand to free philanthropist
The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the ambassadors of 10 countries, including the Netherlands, over a statement calling on Turkey to immediately release Osman Kavala, NOS reports.
In addition to the Netherlands, the United States, Germany, and France, among others, signed the statement calling for Kavala's release. "The continued delays in his trial, including due to the merging of different files and the creation of new cases, cast a shadow over the principles of respect for democracy, the rule of law and transparency in the Turkish judicial system," the embassies said in their statement. They referred to a previous ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, which ordered the Turkish government to release Kavala in 2019.
The businessman and philanthropist has been in custody since 2017. The Turkish authorities arrested him for allegedly being involved in protests in Istanbul's Gezi Park in 2013, which grew into a demonstration against president Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Last year, after a brief release, he was detained again for alleged involvement in the fail coup in 2016.
Turkey's Interior Minister responded to the embassies' statement on Twitter, saying that the embassies' suggestion casts a shadow over their understanding of law and democracy. "It is unacceptable for ambassadors to make recommendations and suggestions to the judiciary in an ongoing case."