Turkey holds first Kavala hearing after row with Western allies By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Lawyers and opposition lawmakers collect in entrance of the Justice Palace, the Caglayan Courthouse, as a Turkish court docket started the re-trial of philanthropist Osman Kavala and 15 others over their position in nationwide protests in 2013, in Istanbul, Tu


By Ali Kucukgocmen

ISTANBUL (Reuters) -A Turkish court docket on Friday started the newest hearing within the trial of philanthropist businessman Osman Kavala, whose case provoked a diplomatic dispute between Ankara and its Western allies after they referred to as for his quick launch.

The trial of Kavala, who has been in jail with out conviction for greater than 4 years, has been criticised as politically motivated and symbolic of a crackdown on dissent beneath President Tayyip Erdogan.

The authorities rejects this and says Turkey’s courts are impartial.

Last month Erdogan threatened to expel the ambassadors of 10 nations, together with the United States, Germany and France, after they echoed a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling that Kavala ought to be freed.

The prospect of additional deterioration in Western ties added on the time to stress on the Turkish lira, which has hit new report lows since September due largely to aggressive rate of interest cuts.

Kavala, who has been attending hearings by way of video hyperlink, was not taking part on Friday.

His spouse and opposition lawmakers had been within the packed courtroom in Istanbul’s most important courthouse, in addition to diplomats from a few of the 10 embassies concerned within the dispute, together with the United States, France, Germany, and Sweden.


Kavala was acquitted final yr of fees associated to nationwide protests in 2013 centered on Istanbul’s Gezi Park, however the ruling was overturned this yr and mixed with fees in one other case associated to a coup try in 2016. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Kavala, 64, stated it will be “meaningless” for him to attend the court docket hearings as a good trial was inconceivable given Erdogan’s feedback about him.

“As a citizen defending the rule of law, I think it is not right to act in a way that would legitimize the current situation the judiciary is exposed to,” he stated in an announcement.

Taksim Solidarity, a gaggle fashioned in the course of the Gezi protests that features metropolis planners and legal professionals, stated the “mindless and illegal” case towards Kavala should be dropped instantly.

“Osman Kavala, who has been remanded in jail for 1,487 days as a political prisoner, must be released,” the group stated in an announcement learn out within the sq. exterior the courthouse, which was packed with dozens of riot police and water cannon autos.

Kavala is on trial with 51 different folks in a mixture of three separate circumstances over the 2013 protests and the 2016 coup try towards Erdogan and his authorities.

The ECHR referred to as for Kavala’s launch in late 2019 over a scarcity of affordable suspicion that he dedicated an offence, ruling that his detention served to silence him.

The Council of Europe has stated it’s going to start infringement proceedings towards Turkey if Kavala will not be launched, which may ultimately result in Turkey being expelled from the physique.

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