Producer Fuad Kavur identifies himself as organizer of Times letter, Kemalist group as financer
LONDON – Anadolu Agency
Fuad Kavur also said he was the one who contacted the signatories of the letter, which included Hollywood celebrities such as Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Ben Kingsley and director David Lynch. AA photoA Turkish producer has said he organized the signatures of a letter published in the British daily The Times last week that stirred much controversy in Turkey, adding that it was financed by the Kemalist Thought Association’s (ADD) office in Britain.
“All we, and personally I, wanted was to criticize and create awareness. We didn't have any other purpose beyond that,” Kavur told Anadolu Agency July 30, while stressing that he was not the author of the much-debated text.
Kavur said the first person he contacted following the eruption of the Gezi protests in Turkey was British scholar Andrew Mango, who wrote a best-selling biography on Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.
“I told him what I had in mind and asked him if he would sign such a letter. He also said that what happened deeply saddened him and replied ‘Let’s do it.’ Although the 30 signatories did not gather and write [the letter] together, this is a common letter issued after consulting with each other,” Kavur said.
Kavur also said he was the one who contacted the signatories, which included Hollywood celebrities such as Sean Penn, Susan Sarandon, Ben Kingsley and director David Lynch.
He also said the advertisement cost 12,000 pounds or $25,000 and that the money was gathered by the ADD.
The comparison in the letter between the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) counter-rallies that were organized in response to the Gezi protests and Nazi Germany’s Nuremberg rallies had been criticized, even by some who welcomed the letter. Kavur admitted that the comparison was his.
“That’s what those rallies reminded me of. If it’s a mistake, it’s my responsibility, but that’s also my opinion. I don’t think it’s an insult, but the reality,” he said.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan immediately slammed the letter, saying the celebrities and famous artists who put their signatures to the work had been deceived by the organizers. He also threatened the British daily and those who wrote the letter with legal action.
“I am ready to account for what I did if this is taken to court. There are also judges and courts here,” Kavur said.
The full-page letter was published in The Times July 24. Along with the internationally renowned Hollywood celebrities, it contained the signatures of other globally renowned personages, such as Irish novelist Edna O’Brien, British Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn, British actress Vanessa Redgrave, Hungarian cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond and American freelance journalist and writer Claire Berlinski.
“Only days after clearing Taksim Square and Gezi Park relying on untold brutal force, you held a meeting in Istanbul, reminiscent of the Nuremberg Rally, with total disregard for the five dead whose only crime was to oppose your dictatorial rule,” the letter said, adding that the prime minister’s orders “led to the deaths of five innocent youths” and that he should be brought before the European Court of Human Rights for the police’s violence.