Friends of jailed Turkish businessman-activist Osman Kavala call for his release

Friends of jailed Turkish businessman-activist Osman Kavala call for his release


Friends of the prominent jailed activist and businessman Osman Kavala have called for his release in a joint statement, seven months after he was first detained. 

“We are the witnesses of Osman Kavala’s respected, humble, and democratic personality as well as his life. Osman Kavala has been in jail for six months. Very powerful evidence must exist to deny someone’s freedom for so long, but there is no indictment yet,” said the joint statement.

An indictment has still not been prepared for Kavala, who heads the NGO Anadolu Kültür (Anatolian Culture) and also co-founded the İletişim Publishing House. He has for decades been patron of many left-liberal causes in Turkey.

The letter was penned by former Justice Minister Aysel Çelikkel, Hrant Dink Foundation President Rakel Dink, two former Boğaziçi University rectors Ayşe Soysal and Üstün Ergüder, two former presidents of the Istanbul Bar Turgut Kazan and Yücel Sayman, and former Undersecretary of Public Order and Security of the Ministry of the Interior Murat Özçelik.

“This treatment to such a respectable person injures our conscience and the conscience of society. Members of a society do not have to be of the same opinion in every matter, but they should not be pushed into giving up hopes on each other’s consciousness or justice mechanisms. Either a serious indictment should be put in front of the public regarding Osman Kavala or he should be released,” the statement added.

Kavala was detained on Oct. 18, 2017. He was charged on Nov. 1, 2017 with “attempting to abolish the constitutional order” and “attempting to remove the government of the Turkish Republic” through alleged links to July 15, 2016 coup attempt and the December 2013 corruption probes against top government figures. He is also accused of being one of the “managers and organizers” of the Gezi Park protests in the summer of 2013.