Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he had asked his foreign ministry to declare the US envoy to Turkey “persona non grata” in a speech on Saturday in the northwestern town of Eskisehir.
The Ambassador of the United States, as well as nine other emissaries from Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Finland and New Zealand, received diplomatic protection deleted.
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“I gave the necessary order to our Minister of Foreign Affairs and I said what to do. ‘These 10 ambassadors must be declared persona non grata immediately.
The move comes after the 10 Western countries demanded the release of businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala earlier this week after being interned for nearly four years.
Kavala has been in jail since late 2017 and has been charged with national protests in 2013 which were followed by a failed coup in 2016.
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The Turkish government has not yet convicted him and Kavala has denied all charges.
International human rights groups have repeatedly called for the release of Kavala and Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas, also detained since 2016.
The groups allege that the two men were detained for political reasons rather than for legitimate violations of the law.
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U.S. Ambassador David Satterfield was appointed to his post in 2019. But earlier this week, the Senate approved the appointment of former Arizona Senator Jeff Flake to the post.
Fox News was unable to immediately contact the State Department for comment.