Turkey summons 10 diplomats over call for release of philanthropist


Turkey has summoned the ambassadors of 10 countries, including Germany and the US, after they called for the release of a key philanthropist from jail, according to state news agency Anadolu.

Osman Kavala has been in pre-trial detention since November 2017 without a conviction.

The top envoys of Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the US called in a statement on Monday for a “just and speedy resolution” to Kavala’s case.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry made it clear to the diplomats that the call was “excessive” and “unacceptable,” Anadolu said.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu sharply criticized the statement as unacceptable. “The West cannot give orders to Turkish judiciary,” Soylu told a meeting in Ankara on Tuesday.

Sources have told dpa that a senior German embassy official attended the meeting on behalf of the ambassador who is on vacation.

Accused of espionage and links to 2013 Gezi protests against the government, among others, Kavala denies the allegations.

Kavala’s continued imprisonment “cast a shadow over respect for democracy, the rule of law and transparency in the Turkish judiciary system,” the ambassadors’ statement read.

It asked Turkey to abide by the 2019 European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling to release Kavala.

Turkish courts declined to follow suit, even though ECHR rulings are technically binding on Turkey, a member state of the Council of Europe.

Kavala is the founder of the NGO Anadolu Kultur, which promotes exchange and dialogue between Turkey and its neighbours through cultural and artistic works.

During her farewell visit to Istanbul over the weekend, German Chancellor Angela Merkel raised the issue of human rights in Turkey and the targeting of German citizens in a joint press conference with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Erdogan contended the judiciary is independent in Turkey.

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