A group of academics from France have made a call for the arrested rights activist and, businessperson Osman Kavala to be released.
The group of academics including Serge and Beate Klarsfeld who are known for having identified and documented the 76,000 French Jews sent to death camps from France during the World War 2 and bringing forth the Nazi war crimes to justice, pointed out that Kavala was an important figure in Turkey and world-wide for the intercultural dialogue.
The academics explained in their statement the works Kavala has carried out as an intellectual and a businessperson, pointed out that his arrest was part of a recent policy that aimed at oppressing opposition and that he was left alone.
Reminding that some media outlets were producing news reports that targeted Kavala, the academics in their statement said:
"Like other intellectuals from Turkey, Osman Kavala has been left alone in a country which continues to oppress oppositional academics, imprison journalists.
"Osman Kavala is a symbolic figure who has devoted himself to human rights, peace and dialogue. By choosing rather to oppress and intimidate the oppression, Turkey demonstrates that it distances itself from the western World".
Tal Bruttmann (EHESS), Johann Chapoutot (Paris, Sorbonne University), Etienne François (Free Universtity of Berlin); Béatrice Giblin, (director of Hérodote magazine); Beate and Serge Klarsfeld, UNESCO'nun Honorary and special representatives), Ophir Lévy (movie historian), Barbara Loyer (Paris-8 University French Geopolitical Institute), Henry Rousso (CNRS research director); Nora Seni (Fransız Geopolitical Institute) Annette Wieviorka (historian).
Anadolu Kültür Executive Board Chair, human rights advocate and businessperson Osman Kavala was taken into custody in the evening hours on October 18 at İstanbul Atatürk Airport upon his return from a meeting of a project planned to be realized in cooperation with Goethe Institute in Antep.
He was targeted by some pro-government newspapers following his detention.
Speaking at the weekly group meeting of his party, President and Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chair Recep Tayyip Erdoğan referred to Kavala as the "Soros of Turkey", mentioning his name and said:
"Some try to deflect the truth by means of praises attributed to him such as 'He was a good citizen, a media member, an NGO representative'. The identity of this figure called 'Soros of Turkey' has been uncovered. That was his name that came up in Consulate General [investigation]. All connections have surfaced. And there is the same person behind the incidents in Taksim. You see those people again behind funds transfer to certain places. Who are you trying to fool?"
His detention also sparked criticism on international level.
US thinker and professor in linguistics, Noam Chomsky, United States Department of State Spokesperson Heather Nauert and European Parliament Rapporteur for Turkey Kati Piri denounced Kavala's detention and demanded that he be released immediately.
On October 31, a group of 35 academics, writers and researchers coming together under the guidance of the European Network on Political Group Analysis Jean-François Bayart, addressed an open letter to President Erdoğan for Kavala's release.
About Osman Kavala
Kavala was born in Paris in 1957. He graduated from Department of Economy at Manchester University.
He has been working as executive at Kavala Group since 1982.
He participated in the foundation of Turkey's one of the most prominent publishing houses, İletişim Publications, with Murat Belge.
He served as member of administrative boards of business institutions and NGOs such as Turkey-Poland Business Council, Turkey-Greece Business Council, and Center For Democracy in Southeast Europe.
Kavala is a member of Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) Administrative Board, Open Society Institute Consulting Board, and supporter of Helsinki Citizens' Assembly, History Foundation and Diyarbakır Culture House. (HK/DG)
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