Turkey summons Finnish ambassador over support for political prisoner

The ambassadors of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, France, the United States, Canada and New Zealand were also summoned by Turkey's foreign ministry.

Representatives of European embassies arriving for the trial of Osman Kavala in Istanbul, Turky in December 2020. Image: Erdem Sahin / EPA

The foreign ministry of Turkey has summoned the ambassadors of 10 countries, including Finland, to be reprimanded after their embassies jointly issued a petition demanding the release of a Turkish activist.

The ambassadors' petition called for the urgent release of the Turkish philanthropist Osman Kavala who has been jailed for years, without being convicted.

According to news service Reuters (siirryt toiseen palveluun), the statement called for a "just and speedy resolution to Kavala's case", saying the matter "cast a shadow over respect for democracy."

Along with the ambassador of Finland, the ambassadors of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, France, the United States, Canada and New Zealand were summoned by Turkey's foreign ministry.

Jailed for years

Kavala has been imprisoned since 2017, with rights groups saying his incarceration was part of President Tayyip Erdogan's crackdown on dissent.

The embassies of the ambassadors who took part in the petition referred Kavala's situation to the European Court of Human Rights, to which Turkey is also committed, calling for a solution to the matter.

The Council of Europe has threatened to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Turkey if Kavala is not released by the beginning of December at the latest.

According to news outlets including Reuters and AFP, the meeting of the diplomats was scheduled to take place on Tuesday.

Turkey's Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gül criticised the ambassadors' involvement in the matter.

"Your recommendation and suggestion cast a shadow on your understanding of law and democracy," Soylu said on Thursday in a tweet (siirryt toiseen palveluun).