Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Saturday he has ordered the foreign ministry to expel ambassadors from 10 western countries, including Canada, after they called for the release of philanthropist Osman Kavala.
Kavala has been in prison since late 2017, charged with financing nationwide protests in 2013 and with involvement in a failed coup attempt in 2016. He denies the charges.
In a joint statement on Oct. 18, the ambassadors of Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, New Zealand and the U.S. called for a speedy resolution to Kavala’s case.
Turkey’s foreign ministry called the statement “irresponsible.”
Kavala was acquitted in 2020 of charges related to the protests, but the ruling was overturned this year and combined with another case related to the coup attempt.
Human rights groups say the case is emblematic of a crackdown on dissent under Erdoğan.
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