Civil society leader Kavala says waiting on indictment to refute Ankara’s charges

Jailed Turkish civil society leader Osman Kavala has said that he is waiting on an indictment in order to refute claims of financing a wave of demonstrations and civil unrest in the country in 2013, left-wing news site Gazete Duvar reported.

Kavala was arrested on charges of trying to overthrow the government and the constitutional order on Nov. 1, 2017. The Turkish government maintains Kavala financed the 2013 Gezi Park protests, the biggest anti-government demonstrations since the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002, during which 11 people were killed and over 8000 injured.

“In order to demonstrate that the claims I was the director and the financier of the Gezi protests are groundless and baseless, I am waiting for my indictment to be prepared,’’ Gazete Duvar quoted Kavala as saying.

“I am really saddened that baseless allegations about me have surfaced and that 14 people were detained because of them,’’ he added, referring to the detention of academics on Nov. 16, accused of ties to Kavala and the NGO he chairs, the Anadolu Kültür Foundation.  

The likes of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have repeatedly called for the immediate and unconditional release of Kavala, who has been in pretrial detention for over a year without the start of any trial proceedings. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has linked Kavala to Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros, accusing Soros of supporting the 2013 Gezi protests through Kavala in order to divide Turkey.

Soros's civil society organisation, the Open Society Foundation, announced the end of its activities in Turkey on Monday, citing the impossibility of working amid "groundless claims and speculation.’’