Turkey’s Erdogan orders 10 ambassadors to get out, including U.S. envoy

President’s black list includes 7 NATO allies and further risks lira stability

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi, Russia, on Sept. 29. On Saturday, he ordered 10 foreign ambassadors who called for the release of a jailed philanthropist to be declared persona non grata. © Reuters

ISTANBUL — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday that he ordered Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to remove 10 Western ambassadors from the country, including envoys from the U.S., Germany and France for saying a detained civil society leader should be released.

“I gave the 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 should know and understand Turkey. The day they do not know and understand Turkey, they will leave,” Erdogan said during a televised speech.

Declaring a diplomat persona non grata usually means they are not welcome and will be expelled.

Ambassadors to Ankara from the U.S., Germany, France, Netherlands, Canada, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, New Zealand issued a joint statement on Oct. 18, calling for the release Turkish philanthropist and civil society leader Osman Kavala, who has been detained for four years despite not being convicted of a crime.

Last year he was acquitted of the charges related to the anti-government protests of 2013, but was re-arrested before his release over allegations that he was involved in 2016 coup attempt.

It is yet not clear if Erdogan’s decision to remove the diplomats is final. Turkey’s foreign minister is currently in South Korea until Oct. 24. No one in the Foreign Ministry has yet to comment on the matter.

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