Osman Kavala: My detention allows Erdogan to justify the conspiracy theory


After four years in prison without conviction, the Turkish editor and machinist Osman Kavala, who has become the regime’s black sheep, believes that his detention allows Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s power to justify his “conspiracy theories”.

“For me, the real reason for my prolonged detention is the need for the government to perpetuate the myth of a foreign plot behind the Gezi protests,” Osman Kavala said in an exclusive interview this week. to the French Agency, which he handed over from his cell through his lawyer.

Osman Kavala, a wealthy Paris-born businessman and philanthropist, 64, was arrested in early October following an Istanbul court ruling that “there is no new evidence for the to free”.

Kavala was first arrested for participating in Gezi’s mobilization – on behalf of a park near Taksim Square in Istanbul. Erdogan was then Prime Minister.

He was subsequently charged with attempted coup d’état and espionage.

Kavala, who has always denied the charges against him, faces life imprisonment. He will appear in court again on November 26.

“Since I am accused of participating in a conspiracy organized by foreign forces, releasing me would weaken this myth and that is certainly not what the government wants,” he said.

According to him, “the conspiracy theories surrounding the events in Gezi have since served as a frame of reference to criminalize any form of protest, including student demonstrations.”

After being acquitted last year for his participation in the 2013 protests, he was arrested the next day and then remanded in custody, this time accused of seeking to overthrow the government “during the attempted coup d’etat of 2016, as well as espionage.

“I imagine the Dreyfus and Rosenberg trials were better prepared than mine,” he said, referring to two famous court cases.

Captain Alfred Dreyfus, accused of espionage, was sentenced to deportation and deportation to French Guiana at the end of the 19th century, a largely anti-Semitic France, before being reinstated in 1906.

“Political tension”

In his last court appearance on October 8, Osman Kavala said – via video from his cell – that the charges against him “are unthinkable”.

However, Turkey has so far refused to comply with orders from the European Court of Human Rights, which demanded the release of Osman Kavalas in December 2019.

Last month, the Council of Europe threatened Ankara with sanctions, which could be decided at its next meeting (November 30 to December 2) if the opposition is not freed by then.

“If the infringement procedure starts and the damage it is likely to cause outweighs the political benefit of my detention, then I may have a chance of being released,” he said. told AFP.

Thousands of leading opposition figures and activists have been arrested in connection with the coup attempt against President Erdogan, and the brutality of his retaliation has since fueled criticism of his regime.

The Turkish head of state has repeatedly accused Kavalas of being the agent of American billionaire George Soros and the pro-government press has called the opposition “the red billionaire” or “the Turkish Soros”.

Osman Kavala, who reads newspapers and watches television in his cell, is worried about the political tensions he perceives as the 2023 presidential election approaches.

“The economic situation in Turkey is deteriorating day by day, the pandemic has also caused an increase in unemployment and the middle and popular classes are facing serious difficulties,” he said.

“Even more, inequalities in access to education, particularly in primary and secondary education, have widened due to wage differentials. “All of this is eroding popular support for the government.

However, continues the opposition, Erdogan and his party, the AKP, “do not envisage losing power due to political rivalries or financial difficulties. The scenario of a change of government upsets them.”

Hence the regime’s systematically violent rhetoric against the opposition, he notes.

“It reminds me of those political factions coming to power with a revolution and still accusing the opposition of being counter-revolutionary,” he said, expressing concern that “political tensions escalate in the country in the run-up to elections “.


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