Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Saturday he instructed the foreign minister to declare 10 ambassadors persona non grata over their statement on the ongoing case of businessman Osman Kavala.
"The envoys who called for Kavala's release should either understand Turkey or they should leave," President Erdogan told a ceremony in the central Eskisehir province, according to Turkey's Anadolu Agency (AA).
The embassies of the US, Germany, Denmark, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Canada, Norway and New Zealand had shared a statement on social media calling for Kavala's release, claiming the case has cast a shadow over democracy and the rule of law in Turkey.
Kavala speaking during an event in Istanbul (File)
On Tuesday, the Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned the ambassadors of these countries, accusing them of meddling in the Turkish judiciary.
Kavala was first arrested over criminal charges related to the 2013 Gezi protests, a small number of demonstrations in Istanbul that later transformed into nationwide protests which left eight protesters and a police officer dead.
The businessman was later remanded into custody by an Istanbul court as part of a probe into the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey, with prosecutors accusing him of spying.
AFP adds: Several European countries were quick to react to Erdogan's statement.
Sweden, Norway and the Netherlands -- whose envoys all signed the document -- said they had received no official notification from Turkey.
"Our ambassador has not done anything that would justify the expulsion," Norwegian foreign ministry spokeswoman Trude Maseide told media in her home country, vowing to continue pressing Turkey on human rights and democracy.
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% -- quadruple the government target.