Osman Kavala, a prisoner involved in a conflict with the western part of Turkey

File Photo: Turkish philanthropist Osman Kavala has been imprisoned since 2017 for the overthrow of the government and can be seen in unspecified locations in this dateless handout photo received by Reuters on October 26, 2021. increase. Distribution via Anador Cultural Center / Reuters.

November 26, 2021

Darren Butler

Istanbul (Reuters) -Last month, philanthropist Osman Kavala, dragged by a diplomat between Ankara and its western allies, slammed Turkish civil society before being imprisoned in 2017 for the overthrow of the government. It played a major role in developing.

On Friday, he faces his first court hearing as a call by Western nations for his release triggered a threat from President Tayyip Erdogan to expel their ambassador.

Cavalla, 64, has been involved in numerous civil society projects over the decades, from publishers aimed at promoting social change after Turkey’s 1980 coup, to cultural boosts through the Anador Kurtur organization. I have been involved in.

The work suddenly stopped on October 18, 2017, when he was detained at Ataturk International Airport in Istanbul. Two weeks later, he was put in jail awaiting trial for trying to force the government out on suspicion of life imprisonment.

Since then, he has been detained in Silivri Prison near Istanbul and is being tried in cases of growing support from foreign officials and human rights groups.

On the fourth anniversary of his arrest, the US ambassador and nine others sought a joint statement calling for his “emergency release” and a fair and prompt resolution of his case.

Prime Minister Erdogan responded by demanding expulsion, and the full-scale diplomatic crisis was avoided only when the embassy issued a statement that it was in compliance with the diplomatic treaty on non-interference. After that, Prime Minister Erdogan retreated.

Mr Kavala said foreign interest in his case not only boosted his morale but also made him sad before the turmoil pushed him to the agenda of international news.

“It’s very sad to see foreign institutions and politicians place more importance on the right to live freely than their own civil servants,” he said in response to a question written by Reuters in March.

Cavalla has been accused of funding a national protest in 2013 triggered by a plan to redevelop Istanbul’s Gezi Park and being involved in the 2016 coup failure. He denies the charges.

His plight is far from the world in which he grew up. After graduating from the University of Manchester, England with a degree in economics in 1982, Cavalla took over the management of a family company.

After participating in relief efforts after the 1999 catastrophic earthquake, he quit his business to focus on the work of civil society.

In 2002 he founded Anadolu Kultur to support projects in underdeveloped areas of Turkey, especially in the southeastern part of the Kurds.

“Most important links”

To explain why he was targeted by the prosecutor, authorities said he tried to portray Gezi’s protest as a conspiracy organized by foreign troops. In doing so, they linked them to billionaire financier George Soros.

“My office was next to Gezi Park, I went there, and I was linked to the Open Society Foundations (of Solos), so they decided I had the qualities for this role. I did, “he said.

Critics say Turkish judiciary was abused to punish Erdogan’s enemies under a crackdown after the 2016 coup attempt. The government says the judiciary is independent.

In his speech, Erdogan targeted Kavala, calling him “the remnants of Solos” and despising the foreigners who supported him.

Veteran journalist Kadri G├╝rsel describes Cavalla as “the most important connection between Turkish civil society and the outside world” in a column on the website.

Mr. Cavalla said the four-year imprisonment caused great personal damage to him and his family.

“While I was in jail, I lost some of my close friends. These are irreparable,” he said. “They make injustice feel like persecution.”

(Additional report by Ali Kucukgocmen; edited by Jonathan Spicer and Gareth Jones)

Osman Kavala, a prisoner involved in a conflict with the western part of Turkey

Source link Osman Kavala, a prisoner involved in a conflict with the western part of Turkey

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