Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Tuesday that detained human rights activist and prominent businessman Osman Kavala was behind the Gezi protests of 2013, calling him Turkey’s George Soros, the T24 news website reported.
“The facts of Turkey’s Soros have been revealed. His connections have been exposed. Who are you trying to fool? The same person is behind the Taksim events [Gezi Park protests]. You can also see those who are behind financial support for some places. We will stand against those who try to hit this nation from within. We will pay them back,” said Erdoğan during his party group meeting in Parliament.
Erdoğan also commented on a US demand for the mobile phone of arrested US Consulate General employee Metin Topuz. “Alleging diplomatic immunity, the US tries to claim his [Topuz’s] mobile. This is not the case, who are trying to kid,” said Erdoğan.
US authorities sent a diplomatic note to Turkey on October 10 demanding the return of Topuz’s seized mobile phone. Topuz was arrested on October 4 on espionage charges and alleged links to some leading members of the faith-based Gülen movement.
Kavala, chairman of the İstanbul-based Anadolu Kültür Association, was detained by Turkish police upon his arrival at İstanbul Atatürk airport late on October 18.
The pro-Erdoğan Sabah daily reported on Tuesday that Kavala and Topuz are part of the same investigation into the 2013 Gezi protests, corruption operations in December 2013 and a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
According to Sabah daily, a member of the Turkuvaz group, run by Serhat Albayrak, brother of Berat Albayrak, Turkish energy minister and son-in-law of President Erdoğan, Kavala and Topuz are accused of attempting to destroy the constitutional order and overthrow the Turkish government.
The Sabah daily reported on Tuesday that Kavala and Topuz are part of the same investigation over the Gezi protests of 2013, corruption operations in December 2013 and a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
The daily also said Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies (ORSAM) Director Şaban Kardaş, who was detained at his home in Ankara on October 20, and two other people linked to the Gülen movement are also suspects in the same investigation.
Staunchly pro-government Turkish newspapers Yeni Şafak and Güneş on October 20 accused Kavala of funding terrorist organizations and betraying Turkey. In its front-page story on Friday Yeni Şafak launched a smear campaign against Kavala under the headline “Key Figure of Terror Fund” accompanied by a large photo of him.
Güneş claimed that Kavala was running a criminal organization that supported the Gezi Park “coup attempt,” which was actually a popular youth protest for the right to the city and further liberties, recognized the Armenian genocide of 1915, supported the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and allied with the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in their struggle against the increasingly authoritarian President Erdoğan.
European Parliament members, the US and France all criticized the detention of Kavala. (SCF with trukishinute.com)