Speed Reads

'persona non grata'

Erdogan orders removal of 10 ambassadors from Turkey, including U.S. envoy

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday said he ordered the country's foreign minister to declare 10 Western ambassadors "persona non grata at once," after they signed a joint statement earlier this week calling for the "urgent release" of philanthropist Osman Kavala from prison.

Kavala was charged with financing protests in Turkey in 2013 and being involved in a failed 2016 coup, both allegations that he denies. He has been in prison since 2017, and while he was acquitted in 2020 of charges related to the protests, that ruling was overturned earlier this year. 

On Monday, the ambassadors to Turkey representing Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland, New Zealand, and the United States signed a joint statement asking for a "just and speedy" resolution to Kavala's case, as well as his "urgent release" from prison.

Turkey's foreign ministry summoned the ambassadors and told them this statement was irresponsible, Reuters reports. During a speech in northwest Turkey on Saturday, Erdogan announced he "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. They will know and understand Turkey. The day they do not know and understand Turkey, they will leave." The U.S. State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters.