Turkey summons 10 ambassadors after call for release of philanthropist
ISTANBUL, October 18 (Reuters) – The Turkish Foreign Ministry has summoned ambassadors from 10 countries, including the United States, Germany and France, over a statement calling for the urgent release of philanthropist Osman Kavala , the state agency Anadolu announced on Tuesday.
The statement, shared by some of the embassies on Monday, called for a just and swift resolution of Kavala’s case, four years after his imprisonment, saying the case “cast a shadow over respect for democracy.”
Kavala, a businessman, has been jailed in Turkey for four years without being convicted, although the European Court of Human Rights has called for his release.
He was acquitted last year of charges related to national protests in 2013, but the ruling was overturned this year and combined with charges in another case related to a coup attempt in 2016. Read more
Rights groups have described the trials against Kavala as symbolic of a crackdown on dissent under President Tayyip Erdogan.
“Persistent delays in his trial, including merging different cases and creating new ones after a previous acquittal, cast a shadow over respect for democracy, the rule of law and transparency in the Turkish justice system.” the embassies said in the statement.
“Noting the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights on the matter, we call on Turkey to obtain his urgent release,” the statement said.
The other countries named in the statement were Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland and New Zealand.
In response, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said Turkey is a democratic rule of law. “Ambassadors making a recommendation and a suggestion to justice in an ongoing case is unacceptable,” he said. said on twitter.
“Your recommendations and suggestions cast a shadow over your understanding of law and democracy,” Soylu said.
Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul said diplomats must obey the laws and ambassadors cannot make suggestions to the courts.
The Council of Europe has said it will initiate infringement proceedings against Turkey if Kavala is not released. Read more
The next hearing in the case against Kavala, who has denied all charges, and others, will be held on November 26.
Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Giles Elgood and Karishma Singh
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