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Germany summons Turkish envoy over Kavala verdict

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Germany summoned Turkey’s ambassador in Berlin on Friday to protest a sentence of life in prison that a Turkish court handed to a prominent Turkish civil rights activist and philanthropist.

Western governments and rights groups strongly criticized this week’s ruling which found Osman Kavala guilty of attempting to overthrow the government with mass protests in 2013.

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The court in Istanbul also sentenced seven other defendants to 18 years in prison each for “aiding” the attempt.

Christofer Burger, a spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry, said Turkey’s envoy was summoned for talks Friday morning.

He told reporters in Berlin that Germany had urged other European Union countries to make a similar diplomatic protest.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the Turkish court’s ruling “blatantly contradicts the constitutional standards and international obligations that Turkey commits itself to as a member of the Council of Europe and EU accession candidate.”

“We expect Osman Kavala to be released immediately - the European Court of Human Rights has bindingly obliged Turkey to do so,” Baerbock said.

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