Turkish pro-gov’t daily shares Kavala’s top-level European contacts in Gezi indictment

Pro-government newspaper Sabah daily on Friday shared a new indictment listing businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala’s contacts with officials in the European Union, the European Commission, and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) as part of the jailed activist’s preparations to launch Gezi Park protests.

Prosecutors on Wednesday demanded life sentences for 16 civil society leaders, including Kavala, in a new indictment over 2013 Gezi protests, the biggest anti-government demonstrations in Turkey since President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Islamist government came to power in 2002.

A higher criminal court will decide within two weeks whether to bring the case to the court, during which time public access to the indictment is not allowed.

Despite the ban, pro-government newspaper Sabah on Friday reported what it said was evidence in the indictment against 16 suspects, including exiled journalist Can Dündar and actor Mehmet Ali Alabora and his wife Pınar Alabora.

According to phone records, Dündar talked to Alabora six times between June 15 - June 16 2013, while he spoke with Kavala 33 times between mid-March and mid-June the same year, Sabah said.

The phone records are provided as evidence that Dündar was in touch with other suspects before the Gezi protests, which started as a peaceful sit-in on May 27, 2013.

“They claim that we were in touch with Mehmet Ali Alabora before Gezi. However, according to the report, we talked only one day, and that’s the day Gezi [protests] ended,” Dündar said on Twitter on Friday

According to the indictment, Kavala instructed Dündar and Alabora to organise the protests via Twitter, Sabah said. Dündar said he had opened his Twitter account after the protests.

Contacts with Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros, some German Foundations active in Turkey, and the Guardian Foundation are listed as evidence in the document, Sabah went on to say.

The newspaper added that Kavala also controlled initiatives like Taksim Solidarity, an initiative that was founded mainly by architects and city planners to oppose the government’s plans to build a shopping mall modelled on the Ottoman military barracks that had previously stood on the site of Gezi Park.

According to Sabah, as a part of public relations activities for the protest, Kavala was also in touch with critical officials in the European Union, the European Commission, and the ECHR.

The 657-page indictment says that plans for Gezi Park protests began in 2011 and the 16 suspects orchestrated the events. It reportedly covers the operations of Open Society in Turkey, in addition to Kavala’s organisation Anadolu Kültür and Taksim Solidarity Group. and lists 746 names as complainants, including Erdoğan.

Hakan Altınay and Gökçe Yılmaz (Tüylüoğlu), the former directors of Turkey’s Open Society Foundation, are also among suspects. Open Society pulled out of Turkey in November, refuting Erdoğan’s allegations that the organisation was bent on overthrowing his government

Architect Mücella Yapıcı, city planner Tayfun Kahraman, and lawyer Can Atalay also face possible life sentences. They were members of the Taksim Solidarity group, an initiative that was founded mainly by architects and city planners to oppose the government’s plans to build a shopping mall modelled on the Ottoman military barracks that had previously stood on the site of Gezi Park.

Çiğdem Mater Utku, Handan Meltem Arıkan, Hanzade Hikmet Germiyanoğlu, İnanç Ekmekçi (Mısırlıoğlu), Mine Özerden, Yiğit Aksakoğlu, and Yiğit Ali Ekmekçi are the remaining names prosecutors asked to be sentenced for their role in the Gezi protests.

Kavala, who has been in prison for almost 16 months, and civil society activist Yiğit Aksakoğlu, who was detained in November, are being held in pre-trial detention.

https://www.sabah.com.tr/gundem/2019/02/22/sorosla-gorustuler
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