Erdogan orders expulsion of 10 ambassadors from Turkey

Erdogan orders expulsion of 10 ambassadors from Turkey

The escalating row with the Western countries -- most of which are also NATO allies -- caps a torrid week for Turkey

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday told his foreign minister to expel the ambassadors of 10 countries including Germany and the United States who appealed for the release of a jailed civil society leader.

The envoys issued a highly unusual joint statement on Monday saying the continued detention of Parisian-born philanthropist and activist Osman Kavala "cast a shadow" over Turkey.

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The escalating row with the Western countries -- most of which are also NATO allies -- caps a torrid week for Turkey in which it was added to a global money-laundering and terrorism-financing blacklist and its currency plunged over fears of economic mismanagement and the risk of hyperinflation.

"I have ordered our foreign minister to declare these 10 ambassadors as persona non grata as soon as possible," Erdogan said, using a diplomatic term meaning the first step before expulsion.

"They must leave here the day they no longer know Turkey," he said, accusing them of "indecency".

The Western ambassadors had called for a "just and speedy resolution" to Kavala's case.

Kavala, 64, has been in jail without a conviction since 2017, and faces a string of charges linked to 2013 anti-government protests and a failed military coup in 2016.

In comments about the ambassadors published in local media on Thursday, Erdogan said "we cannot have the luxury of hosting them in our country".

The Turkish lira extended its fall into record-low territory against the dollar within moments of Erdogan's comments on fears of a new wave of Turkish tensions with the West.

The lira has lost one-fifth of its value against the dollar since the start of the year and the annual inflation rate has reached nearly 20 percent -- quadruple the government target.

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