German Chancellor Angela Merkel (67) met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (67) and said goodbye. And the two governments are already embroiled in controversy. The reason: the way the Turkish government deals with businessman, human rights activist and patron Usman Kawala (64).
Kavala has been in jail for four years. There are many allegations against him, but none. Pressure from the ambassadors of the European Union and ten countries angered Erdogan completely and hardened the fringes. Flick explains how this happened and what its consequences are.
Osman Qawala was arrested on October 18, 2017 at Istanbul Airport. Charge: He funded the KC Park protests against Erdogan in 2013 and wanted to destroy constitutional order.
He was re-arrested in February 2020 after a brief release because he was said to have been involved in a coup attempt in 2016. The charges were dropped, but he was arrested for “political and military” espionage.
The well-known businessman Kavala founded several publishing houses and in 2002 founded Anatolu Culture, an organization that promotes art and culture.
In December 2019, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Turkey had violated the Human Rights Convention in its actions against Kavala and should be released immediately.
Ambassadors from Germany, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the United States put pressure on October 18 to demand a “quick and fair” decision in the case, as Turkey did not recognize the verdict. Kavala.
The Turkish president responded angrily. He declared the ten ambassadors to be “undesirable people.” He withdrew his initial threat to deport her on Monday evening.
Erdogan is cutting his own flesh because this scandal is accelerating the collapse of the Turkish currency. After the dismissal of three central bankers, the key interest rate was lowered despite high inflation and now due to the diplomatic crisis, the lira has reached an all-time low. It has lost a quarter of its value against the euro since the beginning of the year.
The expulsion of the ten envoys would have been a drastic move. That would have further disrupted Turkey’s relations with the EU and NATO partner NATO – and a week before the G20 summit in Rome.
There Erdogan is really hoping to meet US President Joe Biden (78). The United States has imposed sanctions on Turkey over its acquisition of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system.
Christoph Ram, a Turkish expert at the University of Bern: “The announcement of the expulsion of ten ambassadors is a very blatant ploy to divert attention from Turkey’s economic crisis and the poor performance of Erdogan’s presidential government.” Like all right-wing populists, Erdogan is left with only nationalism to bring the people together behind him in times of crisis.
But Erdogan’s term in the June 2023 election will definitely come to an end. Ram: “If the next elections are fair and the Turkish opposition succeeds in fielding a strong common presidential candidate, the AKP is more likely to lose power.”