Erdogan orders expulsion of Dutch and nine other ambassadors for supporting activist
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared in a statement on Saturday the Dutch ambassador Marjanne de Kwaasteniet and nine other ambassadors, as undesirable. The ambassadors had called for the release of activist and philanthropist Osman Kavala. Erdogan's statement was the first step towards expulsion.
Erdogan ordered the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs to declare, among others, the Dutch, German, French and American ambassadors as persona non grata as soon as possible.
The 64-year-old Kavala has spent four years incarcerated without conviction. Authorities claimed he wanted to destabilize Turkey. Last year, after receiving a life sentence, he was acquitted of financing anti-government protests in 2013. Shortly after, he was charged with involvement in the failed 2016 government coup. A court decided earlier this month that he must remain in prison until the end of November.
Turkey had already threatened in recent days to expel the ten ambassadors in the heated debate over Kavala. In a rare, joint statement, the ambassadors had argued for a just and swift settlement of the matter.
Erdogan said we "cannot afford" to have these ambassadors in Turkey. He hinted at their expulsion earlier this week, "Do you think you will teach Turkey a lesson like? Who do you think you are?" he said to journalists on Thursday, according to NOS.
The European Court of Human Rights ordered Kavala's immediate release at the end of 2019, but without success. The European Council, which monitors human rights, gave the Turkish government a final warning. If the government in Ankara does not comply with the order by early December, the council threatened to take punitive measures.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times.