Osman Kavala Writes from Prison

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Anadolü Kültüre Executive Board Chair, rights activist and business person Osman Kavala has sent a letter from Silivri Prison, expressing the sadness he feels for the journalists and authors being kept in prison longer than him.

Kavala’s letter released on “Osman Kavala’ya Özgürlük” (Free Osman Kavala) website is as follows:

“It has been more than 100 days since I was located in Silivri Prison. I am trying to get used to this situation considering the uncertainty of its duration. I intimately feel saddened by the fact that there are journalists and authors who have been here for longer than me.

“Yet, I am very pleased to see that Anadolu Kültür, DSM, and Depo – the institutions I am the founder of – continue their work uninterruptedly.

“Despite all the adverse circumstances, I think the improvement of Turkey’s relations with European institutions and civil society organizations is of paramount importance. I believe that these relations will be strengthened again, once the negative climate engendered due to the state of emergency changes.

“In the meantime, I spend my time thinking about my prospective contributions in the upcoming period. The messages I receive from the friends outside make me very happy.

“I send my regards to everyone”.

What happened?

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.