US, France slam detention of leading Turkish activist Osman Kavala
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert has said the arrest of the prominent activist and businessman Osman Kavala was an example of a “very alarming trend” of the detention of civil society leaders, human rights defenders, journalists, academics and activists in Turkey.
“We have expressed to the Turkish government our concerns on many occasions about this trend ... It remains a major concern of ours,” Nauert told reporters in Washington on Oct. 19.
The French Foreign Ministry also stated on Oct. 19 that it was “worried” by the detention of Kavala, describing him as “one of the most important and respected figures of the Turkish cultural scene and of civil society.”
“France, like other European countries, regularly cooperates with Mr. Kavala, who is a regular interlocutor of our embassy. [We] will be very attentive to developments in this case,” spokeswoman Agnes Romatet-Espagne told reporters.
Istanbul police detained Osman Kavala at the city’s Atatürk Airport early on Oct. 19. The police declined to comment on the detention and there was no immediate statement from the government.
Kavala’s wife Prof. Dr. Ayşe Buğra, an academic at Istanbul’s Boğaziçi University, released a statement late on Oct. 19 regarding her husband’s detention, saying it would not be right to make “hasty assessments” on the issue.
“We express our gratitude to everyone for the support given to Osman Kavala so far. As the issue is still at the stage of an investigation, we think it will not be very right to make a hasty assessment at this point. Our opinion is that there is a misunderstanding about Osman Kavala. We believe the investigation and judicial authorities will correct this mistake swiftly,” Buğra said.