Mar 20 2019

Wife of Turkey’s Gezi protest suspect points to lack of evidence - Reuters

The wife of Turkish civil society activist Yiğit Aksakoğlu, who faces a life sentence for being a member of the organisation that orchestrated Gezi protests in 2013, said Turkish prosecutors provided no concrete evidence for the charges, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Yiğit Aksakoğlu has been in prison since November and now faces life charges with 15 other suspects for attempting to overthrow the Turkish government acting as local extensions of some foreign organisations.

According to a 657-page indictment, the Turkish businessman and philanthropist, Osman Kavala, was the head of group that masterminded the biggest anti-government demonstrations against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan since he came to power in 2013.

Supporters of the detainees say the indictment contains no evidence and many bizarre accusations, and marks a new low for a country, Reuters said.

Ünzile Aksakoğlu said that she was struggling to explain to her seven-year-old daughter why her father Yigit had spent four months in jail and might never leave.

“I say to her, ‘I promise I and your daddy’s friends will get him out. Don’t worry. This misunderstanding will end.’ But a part of me is really scared,” Reuters quoted her as saying.

Aksakoğlu was working for a Dutch foundation and implementing projects on young children’s development at the time of his detention. He is included in the case for trying to establish an organisation that sought to work on non-violent protests following the Gezi protests.

His wife said her husband had never met Kavala, while the indictment presents as evidence of someone who were in contact with both to prove the links between the two.

“You hold these people responsible for all the windows that were broken in June 2013... but provide no evidence. This is not something that can be done legally,” Reuters quoted one of Kavala’s lawyers as saying.

The evidences include a picture from Kavala’s phone taken from an academic book showing how different types of bees are distributed across the Middle East which Turkish prosecutors said proved that the suspects had wanted to redraw Turkey’s borders.

The Turkish prosecutors have singled out American-Hungarian billionaire George Soros as the main foreign power behind the Gezi protests and say Soros masterminded civil unrest in Serbia, Georgia and some Baltic states, was then behind the Arab spring protests that began in late 2010, before moving onto Turkey.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-turkey-security-gezi/turkey-escalates-crackdown-on-dissent-six-years-after-gezi-protests-idUKKCN1R00DL