Former U.S. State Dept employee denies ever meeting with Kavala

Former U.S. Department of State employee Henri Barkey, who was accused of involvement in the July 2016 coup attempt by Turkish prosecutors, said in an interview with DW Türkçe that he knew jailed Turkish philanthropist Osman Kavala only in passing.

Kavala's lawyer Tolga Aytüre said that a Historical Traffic Search (HTS) report confirming lack of tele-communication between Kavala and Barkey between 2010 and 2017 has been submitted to their file, according to independent news site Bianet. Activity from both users' phone took place within the same time frame and shared a base station, but there is no proof of communication between the two phones. 

Kavala's lawyers also denied an alleged 93-hour phone call brought into the agenda in 2017. 

According to the analysis report for the process between Jan. 1 2010 and Jul. 15, 2017 prepared at the request of the Istanbul 10th Criminal Court of Peace, it was found that two phone numbers both registered under Kavala's name did not communicate with Henri Barkey at all.

Barkey also unequivocally rejected any type of involvement with the coup during the interview. The professor said he thinks the reason the Turkish side accused him with such an offense is because Turkey wanted to attack the U.S. for the coup and they did it over a former state official like himself.

“Kavala is a friend of my sister’s, I knew of him through her,” Barkey told DW Türkçe. “Other than that, we have run into each other in a few meetings and made small talk. We never came together for any project to date.”

Barkey said in the interview that he had not travelled to Turkey since July 19, 2016.

Among the charges against Barkey, an international relations expert at the Lehigh University, was being a CIA agent. Coup plotting charges stem from a meeting Barkey organised in Istanbul’s Büyükada on the day of the coup attempt.

Turkey blames U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen and his followers for the 2016 abortive putsch, and has since designated the group a terrorist organisation while sacking tens of thousands of public officials and army personnel in a series of purges.

Osman Kavala, who was acquitted in the Gezi trial to be arrested again hours later on coup charges, is accused of bump into Barkey at a restaurant in Istanbul few days after the coup.

According to the Istanbul chief prosecutor's office, Barkey confirmed that he was in Büyükada on the night of July 15 for a conference on Middle East reactions to the 2016 Iran nuclear agreement.

The participants were from Middle Eastern countries, Barkey said, so Büyükada was chosen as a central but quiet location, “instead of calling everyone to the United States.”

Barkey said he heard of the coup attempt from a call from the media asking for comment on an unrelated matter, while he was in Istanbul.

After leaving Turkey, Barkey saw on Turkish media that he is accused of traveling to the country to implement the coup. “I knew they got the information on my arrival to Istanbul from official sources, because the article had details like at what hour I passed through passport control.”

The professor had attended CIA-organised sessions during his two years in the U.S. State Department as a civil servant, he told DW Türkçe. “But labelling me an agent is something made up by the likes of Doğu Perinçek,” Barkey said, pointing to the secular nationalist leader who has allied himself with the government in recent years.