CHP leader slams detentions of activists

CHP leader slams detentions of activists

ANKARA
CHP leader slams detentions of activists

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Nov. 20 criticized the recent detentions of several academics and activists.

“They are trying to take revenge for the Gezi events,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, referring to the anti-government protests in 2013.

“Gezi is the voice of this country’s democracy and freedom,” he said, addressing his lawmakers in parliament in Ankara.

Last week, Turkish police detained 14 academics, activists and journalists over links to Anadolu Kültür (an Anatolian cultural association founded by Osman Kavala) over allegations that they sought to topple the government by supporting mass protests during 2013, known as the Gezi protests.

Istanbul Boğaziçi University academic Betül Tanbay and Bilgi University academic Turgut Tarhanlı were among those detained.

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Kavala was arrested a year ago and accused of attempts to “abolish” the constitutional order and the government. Thirteen of those detained were released later on.

The opposition leader also criticized the way the academics and activists had been detained.

“Why detain them in raids during dawn? They would not run away. There is no reason for them to run because they did not commit any crimes,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

He noted that Kavala had been detained and held in solitary confinement for 13 months.

“There is no indictment against him. There is no crime. They are raiding houses, hoping to find evidence,” he added.

“We defend justice. If they have committed crimes we do not know of, then they should be properly tried. There is no justice in a country where you first put innocent people in jail and then ask where to find the evidence,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

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CHP head, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, Osman Kavala, academics, detentions