Embassies in the United States, Germany, France, Canada, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, the Netherlands and New Zealand criticized Turkish justice in a joint statement last Monday for “postponing” the trials of Turkish human rights activist Osman Kavala. In prison for four years, Ankara was called upon to immediately release the man.
In response to the incident, the Turkish head of state first raised the issue of sending the heads of diplomatic missions home, and then on Saturday ordered the diplomats to declare them persona non grata.
On Monday, the US Embassy announced on its official Twitter account that the United States affirms its commitment to Article 41 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
Article 41 of the treaty states that diplomats may not interfere in the internal affairs of the host country.
The wording of the US Embassy was later shared on Twitter by the foreign missions of other countries involved.
Osman Kavala is currently on trial in Turkey, which has received widespread international attention because the man has been in prison for four years without being convicted so far.
Kavala, 64, was first arrested in 2017 in connection with organizing demonstrations at Gezi Park. Although the court and his associates were acquitted in February 2020 for insufficient evidence, Kavala was also prosecuted a few hours later for the attempted military coup on July 15, 2016.
In addition, proceedings at the Gezi Park protests resumed in May this year after an appeals court overturned previous acquittals in January and the lower court ordered a new trial. The next hearing on the case will be on November 26. Kavala’s second lawsuit over the 2016 acquisition began in December 2020.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled in favor of the man’s release in 2019, arguing that he was wanted to be silenced by his imprisonment and that the claim was not supported by any evidence.
Cover image source: Getty Images
“Food practitioner. Bacon guru. Infuriatingly humble zombie enthusiast. Total student.”