Turkey summons 10 ambassadors after call for release of philanthropist

Lawyers and supporters of the Gezi solidarity group gather outside the courthouse, Caglayan courthouse, as a Turkish court begins retrial of philanthropist Osman Kavala and 15 others over their roles in national protests in 2013, in Istanbul, Turkey, May 21, 2021. REUTERS / Dilara Senkaya / File Photo

ISTANBUL, October 19 (Reuters) – Turkey’s Foreign Ministry summoned ambassadors from 10 countries, including the United States, Germany and France, on Tuesday over an “irresponsible” statement calling for urgent release by philanthropist Osman Kavala.

The statement, shared by some of the embassies on Monday, called for a just and swift resolution of Kavala’s case, four years after his imprisonment, saying the case “cast a shadow over respect for democracy.”

The Turkish businessman has been in prison since late 2017 without being convicted, which rights groups say is symbolic of the crackdown on dissent under President Tayyip Erdogan.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) called for Kavala’s immediate release at the end of 2019 for lack of reasonable suspicion that he had committed an offense, ruling that his detention served to silence him. Read more

He was acquitted last year of charges related to national protests in 2013, but the ruling was overturned this year and combined with charges in another case related to a coup attempt in 2016. Read more

“The persistent delays in (Kavala’s) trial, including merging different cases and creating new ones after a previous acquittal, cast a shadow over respect for democracy, the rule of law and transparency in the Turkish justice system, ”the embassies said in the statement.

“Noting the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights on the matter, we call on Turkey to obtain his urgent release,” he said.

The other parties to the declaration were Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland and New Zealand.

RULE OF LAW

The foreign ministry told ambassadors on Tuesday it rejected the “unacceptable” statement aimed at putting pressure on the Turkish justice system and politicizing judicial processes.

“It was stressed that Turkey is a democratic rule of law respectful of human rights and they were reminded that Turkish justice would not be affected by such an irresponsible statement,” he said.

Diplomats have been warned that they must remain under their responsibilities under international agreements, the foreign ministry added.

Responding to Monday’s statement, Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu said Turkey is a democratic and legal state. “Your recommendation and your suggestion cast a shadow over your understanding of law and democracy,” he said. said on twitter.

The Council of Europe has said it will initiate infringement proceedings against Turkey if Kavala is not released. Turkey is said to be the second country against which infringement proceedings have been initiated. Read more

The next hearing in the case against Kavala, who has denied all charges, and others, will be held on November 26.

Additional reporting by Daren Butler; Editing by Karishma Singh and Jonathan Spicer

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