EU: Turkey expelling 10 ambassadors will not intimidate, sign of authoritarian drift
European Parliament President David Sassoli said on Saturday Turkey’s expulsion of the ambassadors of the US and nine other Western countries for demanding the release of philanthropist Osman Kavala is a sign of an “authoritarian drift.”
“The expulsion of ten ambassadors is a sign of the authoritarian drift of the Turkish government. We will not be intimidated,” Sassoli tweeted.
The EU President also renewed the call to free Kavala.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan instructed the foreign ministry to expel the ambassadors of the US, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and New Zealand.
Erdogan is infuriated over the 10 countries’ statement calling for the “urgent release” of Kavala.
Kavala has been imprisoned for four years, charged with financing protests in 2013 and involvement in the failed coup in 2016. He denies the charges and recently said there was no hope of a fair trial for him in Turkey.
"I gave the necessary order to our foreign minister and said what must be done: These 10 ambassadors must be declared persona non grata at once. You will sort it out immediately," Erdogan said in a speech in the northwestern city of Eskisehir.
"They will know and understand Turkey. The day they do not know and understand Turkey, they will leave," he added.
Erdogan’s authoritarian rule has long garnered the West’s condemnation and his aggressive foreign policy hasn’t won him any battles on the international stage, as the US and the EU continued to criticize Turkey’s human rights record.