Turkey summons ten ambassadors over Osman Kavala

Ten embassies in Ankara have demanded the release of Osman Kavala, a patron of the arts who has been imprisoned for four years. The Turkish Foreign Ministry is outraged and has summoned the ambassadors.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has summoned ten ambassadors for publicly calling for the release of Osman Kavala. The civil rights activist and patron of the arts has been imprisoned in the high-security Silivri prison for four years. On the anniversary of his imprisonment, the embassies of the United States and of Germany, Denmark, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Canada, Norway and New Zealand in Ankara said on Monday:

"Today marks four years since the detention of Osman Kavala began. The constant delays in his trial, including the merging of different cases and the creation of new cases after an earlier acquittal, cast a shadow over respect for democracy, the rule of law, and transparency in the Turkish judicial system.

The Embassies of Canada, France, Finland, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and the United States of America share the view that a just and speedy resolution of his case must be consistent with Turkey's international obligations and national laws. Recalling the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights in this matter, we call on Turkey to secure his urgent release."

Turkey's Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu then accused the ambassadors of improper interference in ongoing judicial proceedings. He argued that the demand for Kavala's release cast a shadow over the diplomatic representatives' understanding of law and democracy.

Kavala has been behind bars for four years without being convicted. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) had already called for his immediate release in 2019. Turkey is ignoring the ruling. In September, the Council of Europe threatened Turkey with disciplinary measures if it did not release Kavala by the end of November, citing a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights. The government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is also ignoring rulings by the ECtHR in the case of the Kurdish HDP politician Selahattin Demirtaş.