On the occasion that it has been more than a year since Anadolu Kültür Executive Board Chair, rights advocate and businessperson Osman Kavala was arrested, his attorneys İlkan Koyuncu, Deniz Tolga Aytürk and Köksal Bayraktar held a press conference in Taksim Hill Hotel in the district of Beyoğlu in İstanbul today (October 31).
The conference started with the message of Osman Kavala. Sending his message from Silivri Prison, where he has been held for a year, Kavala said,
"I have been in Silivri Prison for a year now. I believe that the ones who accuse me of attempting to eliminate the constitutional order and to overthrow the government have been gradually realizing that I have nothing to do with those charges. However, this learning process has been proceeding at the expense of my freedom. I want to reunite with my freedom, my family and friends as soon as possible."
"We do not have any expectations other than law"
After the message of Osman Kavala was read out, his attorneys İlkan Koyuncu, Deniz Tolga Aytürk and Köksal Bayraktar evaluated the judicial process of Osman Kavala since his detention on October 18, 2017.
Emphasizing that they do not have any expectations from any institutions other than law, attorney İlkan Koyuncu stated,
"Osman Kavala was arrested on two charges; one of them was 'attempting to change the constitutional order' and the other was 'attempting to overthrow the government'. Since a confidentiality order has been issued for his file, we do not know what evidence was put forward.
"They want the people to think that 'Kavala is not a Kurd, but he is interested in the Kurdish question; he is not an Armenian, but he is interested in the Armenian question; is he an agent?'"
"We cannot just wave our hands at justice"
Speaking after İlkan Koyuncu, attorney Deniz Tolga Aytürk also emphasized that a confidentiality order has been issued for the case file of Kavala.
Aytürk stated, "It is very difficult for us, lawyers, to talk about this file. Because lots of information that has not been served to us is given to some media outlets. We cannot understand how such a thing can happen. They say to us, 'There is a confidentiality order on this case file.' But, they give the information to some media outlets."
Aytürk also said, "If justice has been moving more and more away from you, you cannot just wave your hands at it, you want to catch it."
"If law exists in Turkey, release Osman Kavala"
In his speech at the press conference, attorney Köksal Bayraktar also emphasized that Osman Kavala cannot use his right to a fair trial and has been unjustly deprived of his freedom.
Stating that "Kavala has been subjected to torture, because being held among four walls is a form of torture", attorney Bayraktar made a call for the release of Kavala by saying, "If law exists in Turkey, Kavala needs to be released from prison, the charges brought against him have to be announced and, afterwards, he has to appear before justice."
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.
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