Germany summoning Turkish envoy is political interference – minister

(Story releads with comments from Turkish Justice and Foreign Ministries)

Germany summoning Turkey’s ambassador in Berlin over the prison sentence an Istanbul court issued to Osman Kavala constitutes interference with Turkey’s domestic affairs, Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ said on Friday.

“Summoning our Berlin ambassador to the German Foreign Ministry regarding a case heard in our country is a clear attempt to intervene with Turkey’s domestic affairs,” Bozdağ said in a tweet.

Bozdağ cited fires that killed several Turkish citizens in Germany and an attack by a far-right terrorist as examples of Germany’s legal system.

“The whole world has witnessed how Germany trampled the law in cases where perpetrators of countless massacres faced trial, such as the Kraichtal and Backnang fires, the Solingen Disaster, the Ludwigshafen Fire, the racist terror attack in Hanau and the NSU case. Germany should look at itself, not at Turkey,” Bozdağ said.

Turkish judges comply with Turkey’s constitution and laws, Bozdağ said. “I condemn Germany for overstepping and invite it to comply with international law,” the minister concluded.

Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Faruk Kaymakçı summoned Germany’s Ambassador to Ankara Jürgen Schulz later in the day, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

Kaymakçı told the German ambassador that no institution, authority or country could question Turkey’s independent judiciary, Anadolu said, and cited the Vienna Convention over the principle of non-interference in a country’s domestic affairs.

Ambassador Ahmet Başar Şen was summoned for talks on Friday morning over the life sentence issued to Kavala, a philanthropist and founder of the Anadolu Kültür foundation, the Associated Press cited Christofer Burger, a spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry, as saying.

A Turkish court on Monday sentenced ​Kavala to life in prison without the possibility of parole on highly controversial charges of attempting to overthrow the government amid the nationwide Gezi Park protests of 2013. The human rights defender denies the charges.

Seven other defendants in the case were sentenced to 18 years in prison each for aiding the attempt.

The 64-year-old businessman has become a symbol of what critics and human rights observers are calling President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s crackdown on dissent.

Countries including the United States, France and Germany have slammed the court’s ruling, calling for Kavala’s immediate release.

Germany has urged other European Union countries to make a similar diplomatic protest, AP cited Burger as telling reporters.

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,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said.

“We expect Osman Kavala to be released immediately -- the European Court of Human Rights has bindingly obliged Turkey to do so,” Baerbock said.

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