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Socialists and Democrats call on Turkish authorities to immediately release the well-known human rights activist, Osman Kavala. Just a few hours after a Turkish court acquitted him yesterday of all charges and ordered his release, Istanbul prosecutors issued a warrant for his arrest in relation to the 2016 coup attempt.   

Osman Kavala, a prominent philanthropist and a leading figure in building a more tolerant and open Turkey, spent more than two years in detention, after being unfoundedly accused of trying to overthrow the government. The European Court of Human Rights had already last year ruled that Kavala has to be released – a decision that was not implemented by Turkey.

Kati Piri, the S&D vice-president responsible for foreign affairs, said:

“There are no words to express the outrage we feel after this insane and cruel turn of events in the case of Osman Kavala. The move to re-arrest him five hours after his acquittal is sadistic and further damages the credibility of Turkey’s judiciary. The vindictive statement by President Erdoğan this morning on Kavala’s case is proof that this show trial is purely politically motivated. We continue to demand the immediate release of Osman Kavala and all other political prisoners in Turkey.” 

S&D MEP Nacho Sánchez Amor, European Parliament rapporteur on Turkey, added:

 “The decision to detain Osman Kavala on new charges just hours after a court ordered his release must immediately be reversed. He is innocent. The new accusation that he was involved in the 2016 coup attempt is even more absurd than the previous one. We urge the Turkish authorities to take up their political responsibilities as an EU candidate country and to allow Osman Kavala to return to his family in Istanbul.

During my recent visit to Ankara, I highlighted that the upcoming verdicts on the Gezi and Büyükada trials were excellent opportunities to prove the state of emergency is really over and to send some positive signals on the willingness to improve Turkey’s relations with the EU. Message received: there is no willing at all.

The decision to investigate the judges that yesterday ruled for the acquittal of Osman Kavala and the other defendants is the last straw in what seems a senseless race away from international and European standards on human rights and rule of law."

MEPs involved

PIRI Kati

Vice-president
Netherlands

SÁNCHEZ AMOR Nacho

Member
Spain

S&D press contact

CZERNY-GRIMM Inga

Press Officer
Poland