Sunday 24 October 2021
Books – Muhammad Ataya:
Yesterday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared 10 ambassadors of Western countries, including the ambassadors of the United States, Germany and France, persona non grata in the country, in a move described by the Guardian newspaper as threatening to open the “biggest rift with the West” during Erdogan’s two decades of rule. .
Erdogan’s move, comes in response to a joint statement issued by the United States, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and New Zealand, in which they criticized the arbitrary measures of Erdogan’s government against the Turkish opponent Osman Kavala.
Western countries demanded the immediate release of the Turkish dissident, accused in his country of involvement in the failed coup in 2016.
The British newspaper pointed out that the implementation of the process of expelling the ten ambassadors from Turkey, will lead to relations between Ankara and the West to “an all-time low”, risk further turmoil for the Turkish lira, and accelerate Turkey’s drift away from the West.
“No instructions have been issued to the embassies for the moment,” a Turkish diplomatic source told Reuters, adding that “a decision is likely to be taken at a cabinet meeting on Monday.”
Most of the countries involved refused to comment until hearing from official Turkish channels. The US State Department said Washington was aware of the reports and was seeking clarification from the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
“Our ambassador has not done anything to warrant expulsion,” Norwegian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Trud Macedi told Reuters.
The case of Osman Kavala, a Turkish dissident, is seen in the West as emblematic of the Erdogan government’s crackdown on dissent during his reign, and has been closely watched by Western diplomats and human rights groups for years.
The European Court of Human Rights in 2019 called for his immediate release, saying the “prolonged period in custody of the democracy advocate is not supported by evidence of a crime and serves the hidden purpose of silencing him with a chilling effect on civil society”.
show of strength
The Guardian newspaper believes that Erdogan’s move to expel the ten ambassadors from his country may be a show of force, given the decline in the popularity of the ruling Justice and Development Party, after high inflation and the deterioration of economic conditions in Turkey, which made him want to gain popular support.
She explained that it is possible to stop the escalation in the future by Turkey, given that the diplomatic repercussions will come at a critical time, especially in light of an upcoming meeting between Erdogan and his American counterpart Joe Biden, at the G-20 summit in Rome, next week, and the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Glasgow.
Although, to date, no statements of condemnation have been issued by several countries, most notably Britain and Italy, Rome’s relations with Ankara are witnessing a deterioration, following the Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s description of Erdogan as a “dictator”, and the latter responded to him as “insolent.”