Erdoğan steps back from threat to expel Western envoys

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Monday stepped back from his threat to expel 10 Western envoys over their joint statement of support for a jailed civil society leader, Agence France-Presse reported.

The reversal came after the United States and several of the other concerned countries issued identical statements saying they respected a UN convention that required diplomats not to interfere in the host country’s domestic affairs.

Erdoğan met with his ultranationalist ruling coalition partner, Devlet Bahçeli, and then chaired an hours-long cabinet meeting at which his ministers reportedly advised him about the economic dangers of escalating tensions with some of Turkey’s closest allies and trading partners.

He concluded the meeting by victoriously announcing in televised comments that the 10 ambassadors had learnt their lesson and “will be more careful now.”

“Our intention is absolutely not to create a crisis but to protect our honor, our pride, our sovereign rights,” Erdoğan said.

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