Will Erdogan release critic Osman Kavala after European pressure?
From the high-security Silivri prison in Istanbul, Kavala sometimes makes his voice heard. He writes opinion pieces and responds to developments in his case through his attorney.
From his cell, Kavala answers a series of questions with a message from the NOS. First of all, he says it works well under these conditions. “I feel good. The messages of support I receive and the calls to be released from the outside give me strength. I feel better on the days when I talk to my wife, and when I hear my mother’s voice – who’s so old? Alone in a cell. I read a lot, especially fairy tales.” This maintains her mental health.”
He writes about the charges against him that they are based solely on “conspiracy theories”. “I suppose they want to maintain the theory that the Gezi uprising was an outside conspiracy to overthrow the government. The only basis for that theory about me is that I sympathized with the Gezi protesters, and had a relationship with the Open Society Foundation of George Soros.”
Erdogan previously described Kavala as “a relic of Soros,” referring to the Hungarian-American businessman George Soros, who, like Kavala, supports many social projects, leaving Turkey under great pressure.
Kavala says his imprisonment is a warning to his colleagues. “It’s a message to everyone who is active in civil society. They should not get involved in matters that hinder the government.”
He was “a little surprised” when he heard the ambassadors’ call. “There have been similar statements before, from the Council of Europe and from the European Parliament. It is unusual for ambassadors to do so and more symbolically striking. But given the president’s reaction, I do not think this statement contributes to my early release.”
He believes that pressure from the Council of Europe can lead to a positive development in his case. The Council will decide at the end of this month whether to initiate criminal proceedings against Turkey. Then the country could be withdrawn from voting rights or even suspended. “I think there is a chance that I will be released in the first half of next year.”
Four years of hope
The case against Kavala will continue on Friday. At each hearing, his lawyer, Tolga Aitur, takes into account the possibility of his release. But because it’s impossible to predict, he doesn’t want to think too much about it. “Four years ago, we’ve been hoping for that moment every day,” he says. “Our right to a fair trial has been violated many times. All we can do is repeat that Osman Kavala must be released immediately.”
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