Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to oust the ambassadors of ten countries, including France, Germany and the United States. Erdogan’s reaction comes after these countries called on Turkey to release its alleged opponent, Osman Kavala.
Canada, France, Finland, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden and the United States on Monday called for a “fair and speedy settlement” of Osman Kavala, the publisher currently in prison. four years waiting for the trial to begin.
Who is Osman Kavala?
Osman Kavala was born on October 2, 1957. He is a Turkish businessman, activist, philanthropist and political prisoner. Kavala has supported numerous civil society organizations since the early 1990s.
He is the founder and chairman of the board of directors of Anadolu Kultur, a non-profit arts and culture organization based in Istanbul. In 2019, it received the 21st European Archaeological Heritage Award from the European Association of Archaeologists for its efforts to protect and preserve endangered cultural heritage in Turkey.
In 2019, he also received the 17th Ayşenur Zarakolu Prize for Freedom of Thought and Expression from the Human Rights Associations.
He comes from a family of tobacco traders. His family moved from Northern Greece to Turkey during the 1923 population exchange between Greece and Turkey.
Kavala attended Robert College in Istanbul. He studied management at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara and economics at the University of Manchester in the UK. He started a doctoral program at the New School for Social Research in New York, but returned to Istanbul when his father died in 1982.
Why is Kavala in prison?
On October 18, 2017, Osman Kavala was arrested at Istanbul Ataturk Airport after visiting Gaziantep for a joint project with the Goethe Institute. On October 25, 2017, the Daily Sabah newspaper, close to Erdogan’s government, accused him of being a “business tycoon with a dark background” and had contacts with the “Gulenist Terrorist Group” (FETÖ).
On November 1, 2017, he was arrested in connection with an investigation into the 2016 Turkish coup attempt and in support of protests in defense of Gezi Park, Istanbul.
Regarding the indictment about the Gezi Park events as mentioned in the press, a criminal indictment seeking life imprisonment for Kavala and 15 other people, including journalist Can Dundar and actor Memet Ali Alabora, was accepted on March 4, 2019 by Istanbul. The indictment also alleges that philanthropist George Soros was behind the plot. The trial was to begin on June 24, 2019. The verdict in the so-called Gezi Trial was handed down only on February 18, 2020, when Kavala was acquitted.
Kavala was arrested several times and released during the two years 2018-20, when finally on March 9, 2020, Kavala was arrested for reasons related to security or internal or external political interests of the state, for political or military espionage purposes. . The arrest came just a day before the European Court of Human Rights’ decision to detain Kavala became final on March 10. This decision stated that there was insufficient evidence to support the charges against Kavala and that “the attitude of the prosecution can be considered as confirming the applicant’s assertion that the measures taken against him pursued an ultimate goal, namely the silent degradation as an Activist. of NGOs and human rights defenders ”.
Osman Kavala has been in Silivri prison since November 1, 2017. Following the court decision on March 20, he was arrested three times and released twice.
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