European intellectuals ask Turkey’s Erdoğan to release social activist Kavala

Osman Kavala

A group of 35 academics, writers and researchers have come together under the guidance of the European Network on Political Group Analysis Jean-François Bayart, and addressed an open letter to Turkey’s autocratic President and Justice and Development Party (AKP) Chair Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The group demanded Anadolu Kültür Executive Board Chair, businessperson Osman Kavala, who is known for his NGO works, be released immediately.

According to a report by Bianet, the signees have expressed in the open letter their dismay over Erdoğan’s statement regarding Kavala’s detention, calling Kavala “the Soros of Turkey” have noted that the accusations about Kavala were products of manipulation and identified Kavala as “a man of culture and peace.”

“We ask you to release Osman Kavala as soon as possible so that he can continue to serve his country, the dialogue with its European or Caucasian neighbors, and the cause of civil peace in which we are all dedicated,” said the letter.

The letter was signed by Fariba Adelkhah (Paris), Richard Banégas (Paris), Roberto Beneduce (Turin), Filip de Boeck (Louvain), Irene Bono (Turin), Florence Brisset-Foucault (Paris), Armando Cutolo (Sienne), Andreas Eckert (Berlin), Peter Geschiere (Amsterdam), Miroc Goepfert (Constance), Thornike Gordadze (Paris), Gabriella Gribaudi (Naples), Sten Hagberg (Upsala), Béatrice Hibou (Paris),, Alessandro Jedlowski (Liège), Antoine Kernen (Lausanne), Michal Kozlowski (Warsaw), Denis Lacorne (Paris), Giovanni Levi (Venice), John Lonsdale (Cambridge), Roland Marchal (Paris), Alfio Mastropaolo (Turin), Françoise Mengin (Paris), Eric Morier-Genoud (Belfast), Didier Péclard (Genève), Isabel Raposo (Lisbonne), Jean-Louis Rocca (Paris), Boris Samuel (Rabat & Paris), Ramon Sarro (Oxford), Klaus Schlichte (Brême), Ricardo Soares de Oliveira (Oxford), Simona Taliani (Turin), Bruno Théret (Paris), Mohamed Tozy (Casablanca & Aix).

Kavala, chairman of the İstanbul-based Anadolu Kültür Association, was detained by Turkish police upon his arrival at İstanbul Atatürk airport on Oct. 18. Turkish  President Erdoğan had said Kavala was behind the Gezi protests of 2013, calling him Turkey’s George Soros.

“Some try to deflect the truth by means of praises attributed to him such as ‘He was a good citizen, a media member, an NGO representative. Identity of this figure called ‘Soros of Turkey’ has been uncovered. That was his name that came up in Consulate General [investigation]. All connections have surfaced. And there is the same person behind the incidents in Taksim. You see those people again behind funds transfer to certain places. Who are you trying to fool?” said Erdoğan.

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