Turkey’s Erdogan Expelling 10 Ambassadors, Including U.S. Official

Recep Tayyip Erdan, the Turkish president, announced Saturday at a rally that Turkey plans to expel 10 western ambassadors from Turkey. This was after diplomats demanded the release of a Turkish dissident.

Turkish President Recep Tyyip Erdogan addressed a meeting of provincial election officers at the [+] headquarters his ruling Justice and Development Party, Ankara, Turkey on January 29, 2019. (ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images) AFP via Getty Images

The Key Facts

Erdogan stated that the ambassadors were now "persona non-grata" meaning they aren't welcome in Turkey. The ambassadors demanded the release Osman Kavala from prison, an anti-Erdogan activist and wealthy man who has been in jail since 2017, despite not being convicted. David Satterfield is the current U.S. Ambassador to Turkey. He was appointed by Trump's predecessor in 2019. Turkey will also expel the ambassadors of France, Germany and Canada as well as those from New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, Denmark Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Sweden.

Important Quote

They will understand, recognize and know Turkey. According to The Associated Press, Erdogan stated that they would leave Turkey if they didn't understand or know Turkey.

What to Watch

Former U.S. Senator Jeff Flake (R.Ariz.), has been appointed as the next Ambassador to Turkey by President Joe Biden. Flake must still be confirmed by U.S. Senate.

Important Background

Kavala was a left-leaning philanthropist who was taken into custody in 2017. He was charged with "attempting overthrow the constitution order" in connection to financing anti-government protests. Although the charges were dropped in February 2020, Kavala was instantly charged with allegedly participating in a coup attempt in Turkey in 2016. International observers demanded Kavala's immediate release. They claim he is being held as a political prisoner. Erdogan has called Kavala the "red Soros" of Turkey, referring to George Soros, a U.S. billionaire philanthropist and Hungarian-born philanthropist, who is well-known for supporting left-leaning organizations. If Kavala isn't freed, the Council of Europe, an international human rights organization, will begin infraction proceedings against Turkey in November.

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Erdogan orders the removal of 10 ambassadors including the US envoy (The Associated Press).

Turkey's Osman Kala case: Is it a break with Europe? (Deutsche Welle)

Biden Nominates Ex–GOP Senator Jeff Flake, Who backed him over Trump as Ambassador To Turkey (Forbes).