Press Releases AFET Yesterday
The EP standing rapporteur for Turkey and the chair of the EU-Turkey parliamentary delegation issued the following statement Friday in reaction to the decision in the case of Osman Kavala.
Statement by European Parliament Standing Rapporteur for Turkey Nacho Sánchez Amor (S&D, ES), and Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee Sergey Lagodinsky (Greens/EFA, DE)
“We are dismayed to read the decision of the Istanbul 36th High Criminal Court who denied Osman Kavala’s release and set a new hearing date for 5 February 2021.
It is yet another of many missed chances for Turkey’s judiciary to abide by the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights. Turkey has dismissed already two calls by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers strongly urging it to assure Kavala’s immediate release.
We hope that, regardless of today’s decision, the General Assembly of the Constitutional Court will urgently review Kavala’s application and stop this mockery of the judicial process once and for all.
This case continues to stand in for many others in the country, such as the cases of Selahattin Demirtaş or Ahmet Altan. It demonstrates the Turkish authorities’ lack of will to deliver substantial reforms in the field of rule of law, judicial independence and fundamental rights. All we have heard so far are hollow promises, there is no action.
Today’s court decision means, above all, the ruthless continuation of human suffering inflicted upon a man who has by now spent 1.144 days in prison, without any legal basis, as the European Court of Human Rights stated in its ruling. We express our full solidarity with Osman Kavala, his wife and family, and our support to all those who continue to work to end this and other cases of sheer injustice and return Turkey to the path of a fully-fledged democracy.
The continued backsliding in the field of rule of law and fundamental rights remains, in our view, the main obstacle to progress in any positive agenda that the EU could offer to Turkey.”
Osman Kavala, a prominent civil society figure, cultural patron and philantropist, has been detained since November 2017, accused of “attempting to overthrow the government” during the Gezi Park protests in 2013. On 10 December 2019, the European Court of Human Rights recognized Mr Kavala’s detention as arbitrary and politically motivated, and ordered his immediate release.
On February 2020, all defendants of the Gezi trial, including Kavala, were acquitted due to a lack of concrete evidence. However, Kavala never left the prison as he was subsequently detained, this time on a charge of “political or military espionage”. Today was the first hearing of the trial related to these charges.