Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has declared the ambassadors of 10 countries – including the US, Canada, France and Germany – as persona non grata, laying the ground for their expulsion and for the biggest rift with the West since he has been in power.

Erdoğan’s fury was allegedly motivated by the joint statement released on October 21st by representatives from the US, Canada, Germany, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway, and New Zealand demanding the urgent release of Osman Kavala, a prominent businessman and philanthropist who has been held in pre-trial detention for more than four years now.

Who is Kavala, and why is he being detained?

His figure and political/judicial case were discussed in depth in this webinar recently hosted as the launch event of the Transatlantic Platform for Democracy in Turkey, a collaborative initiative between the Center for Comparative Research on Democracy (CCRD) at Humboldt University Berlin and the Center for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law (CDDRL) at Stanford University.



  • Seyla Benhabib, Eugene Meyer Professor of Political Science and Professor of Philosophy at Yale University
  • Dani Rodrik, Ford Foundation Professor of International Political Economy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government and President of the International Economic Association
  • Ayşe Bingöl Demir, LL.M. Co-director of Turkey Litigation Support Project


Hosted by Francis Fukuyama (Stanford University) and Silvia von Steinsdorff (Humboldt University).

Convened by Ayça Alemdaroğlu (Standford University) and Ertuğ Tombuş (Humboldt University Berlin).



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