Erdogan threatens to expel 10 foreign envoys

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Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday summoned the Ambassadors over a joint statement calling for the release of jailed activist and businessman Osman Kavala, reports Asian Lite News

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to expel the Ambassadors of 10 countries, including the US, Germany and France, over their statement for the release of a detained businessman.

“I told our foreign minister that we cannot afford to host them in our country. Is it your place to teach such a lesson to Turkey?” Erdogan told journalists on Thursday.

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry on Tuesday summoned the Ambassadors over a joint statement calling for the release of jailed activist and businessman Osman Kavala.

In a joint statement on Monday, the Ambassadors said: “Together, the embassies of Canada, France, Finland, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the United States of America believe a just and speedy resolution to his case must be in line with Turkey’s international obligations and domestic laws.

“Noting the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights on the matter, we call for Turkey to secure his urgent release.”

Kavala was acquitted in 2020 of charges related to nationwide Gezi protests in 2013.

But his ruling was overturned and was combined with a probe into a coup attempt in 2016 on the accusation of spying.

Erdogan earlier accused Kavala of being the “Turkish leg” of US billionaire philanthropist George Soros.

“Why do these 10 Ambassadors make this statement? Those who defend this leftover of Soros are striving to get him released,” Erdogan said on Thursday.

Turkish lira hits historic low

Meanwhile, the Turkish lira has dropped to a historic record low against the US dollar, triggering widespread concerns for the country’s future.

At 2 p.m. on Thursday, one dollar was traded at 9.49 Turkish liras after Turkey’s central bank surprisingly cut its policy rate by 200 basis points to 16 per cent, reports Xinhua news agency.

The digital boards of foreign exchange offices at Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, the heart of markets, were temporarily darkened with all the transactions halted.

Live broadcasts from the area showed many shop owners and commissioners hitting the phones to get the latest news.

Citizens, including business owners, who wanted to assess their savings, also flocked to exchange offices but saw closed doors.

Mehmet Ali Yildirimturk, a business owner at the Grand Bazaar, said the markets had predicted that interest rates would not change or would drop by 50 basis points to 100 basis points the most before the final decision came as a surprise and caused panic and chaos.

“We need stability. The fluctuation harms the entire business world as we are having difficulties in setting up our prices,” Yildirimturk was quoted as saying by a local broadcaster.

Turkey in FATF Grey List

Global terror financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on Thursday retained Pakistan on its ‘Grey List’ of countries.

In a briefing, FATF president Marcus Pleyer also said that three new countries — Turkey, Jordan, and Mali — have also been added to the Grey List.

Turkey to recoup $1.4 billion paid for F-35 deal

Meanwhile, Turkey said it is determined to get back funds the Unites States owes to Ankara for the scrapped F-35s program in July 2019, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said, as talks for the purchase of Lockheed Martin-made Viper class F-16 fighter jets are underway. Turkey paid $1.4 billion to the US in a deal to upgrade its fleet with F-35 jets which were never delivered as Washington stalled the contract over Turkey’s Russian missile defence system S-400s purchase. US had also hit Turkey with CAATSA sanctions.

The United States scrapped a defence contract with Ankara over security concerns as it said that the Russian air-defence system can gather intelligence on the American manufactured F35s’ crucial stealth abilities. US lawmakers and defence officials had protested Turkey’s decision of acquiring the Russian S-400 alongside the F-35 joint strike fighter over IFF tactical data concerns, as the Russian missile system could easily compromise F-35’s technology intelligence that makes the  US manufactured fighter jets lethal. Defence analysts believe that the US Air Force operating F-35s out of Incirlik Air Base has been a mounting challenge with Russia’s S-400 nearby.

“I believe we will make progress,” Turkish outlet TRT quoted Erdogan as saying. Clarifying the controversy surrounding the US embargo on Turkey, Erdogan said that Turkey purchased the Russian missile system long after it failed to reach terms on the protracted negotiations with the US on the defence deal. Turkey had placed an order for more than 100 F-35 jets manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corp, but the US snubbed the deal stating that the S-400s would expose the F-35s to possible Russian subterfuge. Erdogan now says that talks between the Turkish defence minister and the US defence secretary have been ongoing.  “In no way will we let anyone abuse Turkey’s rights,” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters.

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