55 writers and academics from the United States, Australia and various countries in Europe and the Middle East have sent an open letter to President and Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chair Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The group urged that the arrested rights activist, businessperson Osman Kavala be released.
Osman Kavala was taken into custody on October 18 at İstanbul Atatürk Airport after his return from a meeting of a project planned to be realized in cooperation with Goethe Institute in Antep province. Following his detention, he was targeted by certain pro-government newspapers and was arrested on November 1, 2017.
In their open letter, the 55 writers and academics stated that Osman Kavala was one of the best-known businesspersons and cultural figures of Turkey and noted that he had been arrested as a result of a smear campaign launched in the media.
Addressing to Kavala's role as the founder of Anadolu Kültür (Anatolia Culture), a not-for-profit institution, that "aimed at building bridges of peace through exchange of culture and arts", the group pointed out that Kavala also represented the "ceaseless devotion for humanistic values, tolerance, democracy, peace and the rule of law".
Taner Akçam, Ermeni Soykırımı Çalışmaları, Prof., Clark University
K. Anthony Appiah, Prof., Felsefe ve Hukuk, New York University
Peter Balakian, Prof., Colgate University
Janet Benshoof, President, Global Justice Center, NYC
Sven Birkerts, Writer, Bennington Writers Seminar
Peter Brooks, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Scholar, Princeton University
James Carroll, Writer
Israel Charny, Holocaust and Genocide Enstitüsü yöneticisi, Jerusalem.
Junot Díaz, Prof. İngilizce, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Deborah Dwork, Prof., Holocaust tarihi, Clark University
Kai Erikson, Prof. Sosyoloji, Yale University
Daniel Feierstein, Soykırım Çalışmaları yöneticis, University of Buenos Aires
Carolyn Forché, Prof., Georgetown University
Donna-Lee Frieze, Deakin University,
Alice Fulton, Prof., İngilizce, Cornell University
David Gewanter, Prof., İngilizce, Georgetown University
Todd Gitlin, Prof., Gazetecilik ve sosyoloji, Columbia University
Joy Harjo, Prof., İngilizce, University of Tennessee
Judith Herman, Prof., Psikiyatri, Harvard Medical School
Susannah Heschel, Prof., Yahudi Çalışmaları, Dartmouth College
Marianne Hirsch, Prof., Karşılaştırmalı Edebiyat, Columbia University
Tessa Hofmann, Prof., Berlin
Major Jackson, Prof., İngilizce, University of Vermont
Ben Kiernan, Prof., Tarih, Yale University
Pamela Kingsbury, University of Northern Alabama
Robert Jay Lifton, John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY
Deborah Lipstadt, Prof., Modern Yahudi Tarihi ve Holocaust Çalışmaları, Emory University
Shara Macallum, Prof., İngilizce, Penn State University
Armen T Marsoobian, Prof., Felsefe, , University of Southern Connecticut
Richard A. Meckel, Prof., Tarih ve Amerika Çalışmaları, Brown University
Askold Melnyczuk, Prof., İngilizce, University of Massachusetts, Boston
Robert Melson, Prof., Siyaset Bilimi, Purdue University
Christopher Merrill, International Writing Program, University of Iowa
Angela Miller, Prof., Sanat Tarihi, Washington University in St. Lous
Dirk Moses, Prof., Modern Tarih, University of Sydney
Adam Muller, Barış ve Çatışma Çalışmaları, University of Manitoba
Jay Parini, Prof., İngilizce, Middlebury College
Jane Pinchin, Prof., Colgate University
Robert Pinsky, Prof., İngilizce, Boston University
John Poch, Prof., İngilizce, Texas Tech University
Leo P. Ribuffo, Prof., Tarih, George Washington University
Michael A. Riff, Gross Center for Holocaust & Genocide Studies, Ramapo College
David Romtvedt, Prof., University of Wyoming
Nancy L. Rosenblum, Prof., Politik Etik, Harvard University
Tom Sleigh, Prof., Hunter College/CUNY
Bruce Smith, Prof., , Syracuse University
Roger W. Smith, Prof., College of William and Mary
Dr. Gregory H. Stanton, Founding Chairman, Genocide Watch
Charles B. Strozier, Prof., Center on Terrorism, John Jay College/CUNY
Gordon Tapper, Prof., İngilizce, Laguardia Community College
Colin Tatz, Prof., politika ve Uluslararası İlişkiler, Australian National University
Henry C. Theriault, International Association of Genocide Scholars
Natasha Trethewey, Prof., İngilizce, Northwestern University
Andrew Woolford, Prof., Sosyoloji, University of Manitoba
Ragip Zarakolu, Türkiye İnsan Hakları Vakfı kurucularından, yazar, yayıncı.
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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