Turkish businessman Osman Kavala’s detention period extended for seven days
The detention period for Osman Kavala, a prominent Turkish businessman and philanthropist who was detained in Istanbul on Oct. 19, was extended for seven days, daily Cumhuriyet reported late on Oct. 26.
Kavala was detained at the Atatürk Airport upon his arrival from the southeastern province of Gaziantep as a part of a “secret investigation,” according to initial reports.
His arrest had drawn immediate condemnation from European officials. Most recently, EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy spokesperson Maja Kocijančič said in a statement that Kavala’s detention was “worrying,” urging a swift resolution.
“The recent detention of Osman Kavala, Chairman of Anadolu Kültür, a trusted interlocutor and advocate of sound EU-Turkey relations, is the latest among worrying cases that need a very swift resolution on the basis of the principle of presumption of innocence and the application of pre-trial detention in line with the European Convention on Human Rights,” Kocijančič said on Oct. 26, while welcoming the release of eight human rights activists who had previously been arrested in the country.
“We, the undersigned Members of the European Parliament, call on the Turkish authorities to urgently release Mr. Kavala and to take the necessary steps needed in order to address the serious crackdown in the areas of rule of law and fundamental rights and freedoms in the country,” the members of the European Parliament had stated in a letter sent to the interior and justice ministers of Turkey.
According to newly surfaced information, Kavala was detained within the scope of the same investigation file as U.S. consulate employee Metin Topuz, who was arrested on Oct. 4 over alleged ties to the network of U.S.-based Fethullah Gülen.
Speaking on Oct. 24, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also hinted at a link between Kavala and Topuz.
“Their links are surfacing,” Erdoğan said at the parliamentary group meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), referring to Kavala indirectly as “Turkey’s Soros,” in reference to prominent Hungarian-American philanthropist George Soros.