BERLIN (AP) — Germany and Turkey on Friday summoned each other’s ambassadors over a row sparked by a Turkish court’s decision to sentence a prominent Turkish civil rights activist and philanthropist to life in prison.
Western governments and rights groups strongly criticized this week’s ruling which found Osman Kavala guilty of attempting to overthrow the government with mass protests in 2013. The court in Istanbul also sentenced seven other defendants to 18 years in prison each for “aiding” the attempt.
Christofer Burger, a spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry, said Turkey’s envoy to Berlin was summoned for talks Friday morning. Turkey retaliated by summoning German Ambassador Juergen Schulz, Turkey’s state run Anadolu Agency reported.
Anadolu said a senior Turkish official told Schulz that Ankara “rejected attempts to interfere in the Turkish judiciary and politics.
Burger told reporters in Berlin that Germany had urged other European Union countries to make a similar diplomatic protest.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the Turkish court’s ruling “blatantly contradicts the constitutional standards and international obligations that Turkey commits itself to as a member of the Council of Europe and EU accession candidate.”
“We expect Osman Kavala to be released immediately — the European Court of Human Rights has bindingly obliged Turkey to do so,“ Baerbock said.
Copyright © 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.