US calls on Turkey to release Osman Kavala, end the detention

U.S. Department of State, in a statement on Monday, called on Turkey to release businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala, noting that "As of this week, Turkish philanthropist and civil society leader Osman Kavala has spent 1,000 days in detention without being convicted of any crime.”

The statement is released by Deputy Spokesperson Cale Brown, reminded "the importance of respecting international obligations and commitments" to the Turkish government.

Kavala was taken into police custody on Oct. 18, 2017, and arrested Nov. 1 the same year on charges of attempting to overthrow the Turkish government.

Kavala was accused funding the Gezi Park protests of 2013, through the NGO he founded, Anadolu Kültür (Anatolian Culture), and the Turkey branch of the Open Society Foundations (OSF), of which he was a board member. 

Spokesperson ended the statement by calling upon "Turkey to comply with its own commitment to justice and rule of law and to release Osman Kavala from detention, while pursuing a just, transparent, and speedy resolution to his case."

Gezi protests began in late May of 2013 after a group of environmentally friendly activists tried to stop a tiny Gezi Park from being bulldozed. The protest met a fierce confrontation by the Turkish government, by then led prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Protests quickly spread across all of Turkey's cities. 

“It is not possible that the Gezi events could have been arranged and funded by any organisation,” Anadolu Kültür said in a statement after Kavala’s arrest. “There is no material basis, either, that Anadolu Kültür funded the Gezi events.”

After almost two and a half years spent in prison, Kavala was acquitted on February 18 this year.

“In the end, there is no conviction to speak of, we must always remember that,” musical conductor Cem Mansur told Ahval. “There is no crime, no evidence and no conviction.”

However, Kavala was arrested again before he could be released – this time over charges of having aided the putschists in the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016.

A thousand days behind bars: Osman Kavala’s friends speak up