Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday said George Soros, a Hungarian-American billionaire investor and philanthropist, was behind jailed Turkish activist and businessman Osman Kavala, who was accused of financing the 2013 Gezi Park protests against the Erdoğan government.
“One financier of the Gezi Park terrorists is in jail now. Behind him, there is infamous Hungarian Jew Soros,” Erdoğan said during a meeting with mukhtars (neighborhood headmen) at his palace in Ankara.
Erdoğan also criticized main opposition party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu for supporting the Gezi Park protestors, saying promoting protestors amounted to supporting terrorist groups.
On Friday, 13 prominent academics were detained as part of an investigation into Kavala’s Anadolu Kültür Foundation on allegations of financing and promoting the Gezi Park protests.
One of the detainees was arrested and the others were subjected to a travel ban.
An İstanbul court ruled to arrest Kavala on Nov. 1, 2017 following 13 days in police custody on charges of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order and attempting to remove the government of the Turkish Republic.
Just before his arrest, President Erdoğan declared Kavala a criminal and the “Turkish Soros,” implying that Kavala was plotting to undermine his rule through civil society organizations.
Erdoğan saw the Gezi Park protests as a foreign plot against his government from the day one.