Famous arts activist and mastermind Osman Kavala has been in prison since 2017. Among other things, he is accused of acting as a mastermind, both in the demonstrations in Gezi Park in 2013 and in the failed coup attempt in 2016. , while the chances of being acquitted are considered slim. Recently, ten ambassadors from around the world demanded his release. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan reacted angrily by threatening to deport them.
The controversy is now moving to another level: a Turkish court ruled on Friday to extend Kavala’s imprisonment, ignoring a request by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for his release. The Council of Europe considers the case to be “politically motivated”. The issue was discussed at the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on Tuesday. If Turkey continues to disobey, it may even be expelled from the Council of Europe. DW contacted detainee Osman Kavala before his trial on November 26, sending written questions to the 64-year-old activist through his lawyer.
What do the accusations against Kavalas aim at?
Apart from the accusation of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order”, Kavala is also accused of “espionage”. But what does he say about the charges against him? “Not only the charges of espionage, but also the manner in which I was arrested sound like a warning to political activists. The charges of espionage against me and my imprisonment – despite the decision of the ECtHR – were fabricated, the legal definition of espionage is not “There was not enough evidence of espionage. That’s why I once compared the accusations to Nazi-era practices,” Osman Kavala told DW.
As for the Council of Europe’s intention to take action against Turkey if it does not release him after November 30, Osman Kavala says: “It has been two years since the ECtHR ruled that my imprisonment was political. “The court therefore requested my immediate release. However, Turkey refused to recognize the decision. The continuation of my detention, despite this decision, weakens the jurisdiction of the ECtHR.”
Kavala and the diplomatic crisis
Regarding the diplomatic crisis caused in Turkey by the move of the ten ambassadors requesting his release, Osman Kavala considers that it fully meets the demands of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which monitors the implementation of the decisions of the ECtHR. “It would make sense to make this move now, shortly before the convening of the Committee of Ministers on whether or not a process for human rights violations should be initiated against Turkey,” said Osman Kavala.
As the DW journalist notes, many believe that Osman Kavala resembles the Czech playwright and activist Vaclav Havel, a fierce critic of the Communist Party in the former Czechoslovakia. What does he say about this comparison?
“The Kafkaesque experience I have had over the last four years, with all sorts of imaginative accusations, is somewhat reminiscent of what happened to Havel. But that is all the similarities (…). In present-day Turkey, however, the political dynamics are different. “Certainly NGOs can also contribute to democratization. However, the key players in political change will be party leaders and executives.”
Bourtsou Karakas Editor: Dimitra Kyranoudi
Source: Deutsche Welle
Source From: Capital