Statement by Osman Kavala

22 October 2021

Expressions such as “Soros leftover” used by President Erdoğan about me upon his return from a trip to Africa are extremely upsetting and definitely inconvenient considering the dignity of the office he is holding.

I served on the board of the Open Society Foundation (OSF), which was established and operated in accordance with the law in order to support non-governmental organizations in our country in a transparent manner, just like other board members. I have never assumed the position of Director in the Foundation; nor have I had the authority or status to represent the Foundation or George Soros. The meetings of George Soros with the members of the board of the Foundation during his visits to Turkey, which I also participated in, took place within the scope of civil society activities related to the works of the Foundation.

As far as I know, Mr. Erdogan met George Soros before the foundation of the OSF and politicians from the Justice and Development Party and the President's advisers have been in dialogue with Soros until after Soros' last visit to Turkey in November 2015. I was not involved in these talks, nor am I aware of their content.

Despite the fact that the charges against me are not based on any evidence, I have been in detention for four years. The President's insulting and defamatory statements against a person who is not convicted and whose trial is ongoing constitute an attack on human dignity. These are messages that create the perception that I am guilty and that directly affect the judicial process.

Considering a fair trial is no longer possible under these circumstances, I believe it is meaningless for me to attend the upcoming hearings and present a defense.

As a citizen defending the rule of law, I think it is not right to act in a way that would legitimize the current situation judiciary is exposed to.

Osman Kavala