Presidential advisory board member urges release of Kavala, Demirtaş

Presidential advisory board member urges release of Kavala, Demirtaş

Presidential advisory board member urges release of Kavala, Demirtaş

Bülent Arınç, a member on the Presidential High Advisory Board and a former deputy prime minister, has criticized indictments that have jailed philanthropist and businessman Osman Kavala and former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş, urging their release.

“I am astonished that Kavala is still jailed. He should not be jailed,” Arınç, a founding member of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), said on Habertürk broadcaster on Nov. 19.

While criticizing the members of the judiciary for the indictments on the cases of Kavala and Demirtaş, Arınç stressed he read almost all of them.

“Even a child would not write these. [One cannot] make up evidence-based on suspicion,” he said.

Arınç recalled the case of former main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Enis Berberoğlu whose case and accusations filed against him had changed during his trial.

Arınç said he has read “Devran,” a book Demirtaş wrote in jail, during the pandemic. “Everyone should read ‘Devran.’ Maybe your opinion about Demirtaş will not change, but you will understand what the Kurds are going through, your opinion on the Kurds may change,” he said.

He said some people had been released during the peace process, which involved tentative reforms kickstarted in 2012 to end decades-long clashes between the PKK and the Turkish state before collapsing in 2015. He added that Demirtaş could also be released like this.

Kavala and eight others were acquitted in February of charges related to their alleged involvement in the nationwide Gezi Park protests in 2013. But he was re-arrested the same day on charges related to a failed military coup in 2016. Kavala has denied any involvement in both events. Rights groups have accused the judiciary of having prepared flimsy indictments against the philanthropist.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in December ruled for his release.

For Demirtaş, Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled that the lengthy jailing of him had violated his rights. The ECHR had also made a similar ruling about the politician. He has been in jail since November 2016 on terrorism-related charges. He faces a sentence of up to 142 years in jail if found guilty in the main case against him.