Home World News “Erdogan makes this story a personal case”

“Erdogan makes this story a personal case”

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He had no illusions before the verdict, Monday, April 25. Turkish judges sentenced Osman Kavala, a Turkish intellectual and patron, to life in prison without the possibility of early release. He was accused of seeking to overthrow the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan by funding anti-government protests named “Gezi movement” in 2013 and during the failed coup of July 2016. His seven co-accused – who appeared free – who were accused of having supported him, were sentenced to eighteen years in prison.

A “judicial assassination”

Osman Kavala, who followed the pleadings and heard the verdict from the high security prison of Silivri, on the outskirts of Istanbul, by videoconference, already suspected the outcome of his trial. At the close of the debates on Friday April 22, he denounced a “judicial assassination” against his person. “Conspiracy theories, advanced for political and ideological reasons, have prevented an impartial analysis of eventshe launched. Having spent four and a half years of my life in prison can never be compensated. The only thing that can console me will be to have contributed to revealing the serious errors of Turkish justice. »

Born on October 2, 1957, this 64-year-old man is a figure in Turkish civil society. He had been acquitted in February 2020 on charges related to the 2013 protests, then arrested hours later – before he could even return home – and returned to prison, this time accused of seeking to “overthrow the government” during the failed putsch of July 2016, as well as espionage.

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“There are no charges against Kavala”

Erdogan makes this story a personal case. There are no charges against Kavala. He is a cultural activist but not a political activist “says Jean-François Bayart. Professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, he followed the hearings of the trial of Osman Kavala and his co-defendants. “We must not underestimate the part of irrationality in Erdogan. Kavala is an embarrassing witness for the Turkish president, as he participated in the attempt to mediate between him and the Gezi protesters. »

→ PORTRAIT. Who is Osman Kavala, President Erdogan’s pet peeve?

In 2013, the demonstrations that started in Gezi Park in Istanbul took place when the president was touring the Maghreb. It was aimed at young people, hoping to consolidate its leading position in this region. This tour was to be a consecration for the one who had supported the Arab revolutions. The crackdown that followed the Gezi protests, which spread across the country, quickly tarnished his image.

“In 2013, Erdogan felt threatened, and for him Kavala was the linchpin of the plot hatched against him”, adds Jean-François Bayart. Osman Kavala becomes the easy “scapegoat” of Erdogan who takes him to task in his speeches. The Turkish president is angry with the West for not supporting him after the July 15-16, 2016 coup attempt against him. He already sees the hand of the Americans behind the putschists and Kavala, whom he constantly denounces as the “Turkish Soros”is in its logic the arm of Washington.

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Europe has mobilized

As soon as Osman Kavala and his co-accused were arrested, Europe mobilized. His ambassadors took turns to ensure a presence at all the hearings and intervened to put pressure on the Turkish presidency for his release. In January 2018, Emmanuel Macron receives Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Paris and in turn discusses the case of Osman Kavala. But the Turk doesn’t care.

→ REREAD. Turkey: new hearing in the legal saga of Osman Kavala

Has European intervention not been counter-productive? “The Turkish power has made a blockage. Erdogan does not want to appear as yielding to external pressures. He believes that the Europeans have no lessons to give him.analyzes Jean Marcou, professor at Sciences Po Grenoble. “Erdogan holds Europe on the migration issue, concludes Jean-François Bayart. By signing the migration agreement with Ankara in 2016 (1), the EU has put its head on the block. »

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Massive purges

According to the latest official report established in 2019, over 511,000 people were taken into custody for the failed 2016 coup. ordered the putsch.

Justice has opened nearly 100,000 investigations, which resulted in 289 trials directly related to the failed coup. Almost two-thirds of the defendants received a life sentence.

Nearly 130,000 people have been sacked in the civil service. Nearly 33,400 police officers, more than 17,000 soldiers have been dismissed, as well as employees in the justice and education sectors.

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