Turkish police detain 13 academics, activists over 2013 protests

13 people were arrested, among whom are several academics, with the charges of organising and funding the Gezi Park protests in 2013 and having close relations with Osman Kavala in Anadolu Kültür, Inc. and the Turkish branch of Open Society Foundation, an institution initiated by George Soros
Saturday, 17 November 2018 02:00

Thirteen people, among whom are several academics, were arrested in Turkey’s 4 cities on November 16 with the suspicion of having played parts in the Gezi Park protests back in 2013 and for being related to the Soros-linked businessman Osman Kavala, currently jailed pending trial with the charge of “attempting to overthrow the government” in the attempted coup in 2016.

The Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in İstanbul issued a press statement on the arrests. Asserting that Osman Kavala had attempted to “overthrow the Turkish government with force and violence by spreading out the Gezi Park protests" to the whole country and used Anadolu Kültür, Inc. and Open Society Foundation (Turkish branch of an institute founded by George Soros) to fund and organise the events.

The Prosecutor’s Office claimed that the people in question, acting in a hierarchical order with Osman Kavala, held regular meetings with him to deepen and extend the protests, brought activist trainers, facilitators, and professional activists from abroad, commenced new means of media to spread the news on Gezi Park protests or any possible event alike in the future, and that Osman Kavala met with various people in Europe to stop the import and ban the use of the tear gas used in Gezi Park protests.

On the other hand, Erol Bilecik, Chairperson of Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSİAD), the association that contains the largest part of Turkey’s bourgeoisie, said on Twitter that it was upsetting to wake up to a day to see academics being arrested.

Kavala is famous for his liberal and pro-EU position in Turkish politics. Despite present controversies with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Kavala had supported him until recent years.

Kavala is the owner of Kavala Group, a conglomerate active in many sectors, and known for its business links with Turkish Armed Forces (TSK). A company linked to the holding had won tenders of the military for missile protection system improvement of F-16 fighter jets. Another company running under the Group, İki Nokta Bilişim Inc., provided geo-coding services to private and public institutions, including Istanbul Police Directorate and NATO.

Kavala also actively participates several pro-liberal NGOs as a board member, including Turkey branches of the Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly and the Open Society Foundation. The latter is initiated by Georges Soros, a Hungarian-American billionaire and financial speculator known for his international conspiracies and supporting colourful revolutions.