'Jewish Soros backed Kavala to finance terrorists during Gezi protests', says Erdoğan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday said jailed Turkish philanthropist and businessman Osman Kavala provided finances for terrorists during the country’s 2013 Gezi protests adding that he is backed by Hungarian-American investor and philanthropist George Soros, Haberler news site reported.

Speaking at 48th gathering of village headmen in Ankara, the Turkish President addressed the ongoing detention of Kavala, who has been behind bars since October of 2017 on preliminary charges of having links to the the July 2016 coup attempt and supporting the Gezi protests of 2013.

“And the person behind him is that famous Hungarian Jew, Soros…this is a wealthy man who was appointed the duty of breaking nations apart and spending his money this way,’’ Erdoğan said and added, "His representative in Turkey is a rich man, due to the inheritance from his father, and uses this influence to break nations apart; and his support to the terrorist activities occurs exactly at this point."

A wave of demonstrations and civil unrest to contest the urban development plan for Istanbul's Taksim Gezi Park that began in May 2013 spread throughout the country during what came be called the Gezi Park protests. Twenty-two people were killed and more than 8,000 were injured during the weeks-long protest Ankara has tied the protests in to a broader narrative accusing shadowy figures of a series of incidents it says were designed to bring down the government.

"This man conducts all kinds of propaganda against Turkey in Germany,’’ the Turkish president said of Kavala, noting that he has been rewarded for this.

Turkey’s strongman said those who "Praise Gezi either openly or covertly praise the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and FETÖ,’’ referring to the armed Kurdish group that has been in war for autonomy in Turkey for over 30 years and the Gülen movement, which Ankara holds responsible for the 2016 coup attempt.

"Our nation always gives such [people of this] mindset the lesson that is necessary,’’ he added.

Kavala has been charged with “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order,” a common charge against opposition figures arrested since the failed coup attempt in July 2016.