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The open workshop in shift started at Tütün Deposu in İstanbul by artist friends of Anadolu Kültür Executive Board Chair, rights activist and business person Osman Kaval, has been organized in Berlin, Germany.
Held from February 16 to February 18, the workshop was realized by Apartment Project, which is an independent artists’ initiative formed in 1999 in İstanbul and continuing its operations in Berlin since 2012.
A group of approximately 60 people including authors, journalists, academics, actors and actresses, film makers as well as visual artists participated in the workshop. Besides, Osman Kavala’s artist friends such as Arsinee Khanjian and Silvina Meguerditchian.
Speaking to bianet about the open workshop in Berlin, artist Selda Asal said that those who came to watch the shift became a part of it after some time.
“We commenced production with the first coming team”
Asal stated that Apartment Project hosts especially the exhibitions and concerts of artist immigrating from Turkey to Berlin, and it organizes projects that prioritize participatory workshops with other collectives.
“When we decided to take over the workshop in Berlin, we didn’t have to make a lot of efforts to organize the venue since there was a circulation open to production and that we commenced production right away with the first coming team.
“The most important thing I need to emphasize is that we’ve found each other and act in solidarity in such hard times.
“Osman Kavala is a unique person thinking about humanity and progress”
Asal describes the basic motivation of the open workshop in shift with the words, “We could remunerate Osman Kavala’s support in artistic practices and artistic production for long years by producing”:
“Osman Kavala is a very successful executive. He is a unique person who has been with us artists for a long time, and thinking about peace, progress and humanity. We find it very important to stand by him during this hard period.
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.
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