17 November 2017

We are an international network of artists who came together through Salzburg Global Seminar’s program “Conflict Transformation through Culture: Peace-Building and the Arts” in 2014.

We the undersigned appeal to the President, Prime Minister and Grand National Assembly of Turkey to review the case of Osman Kavala as a matter of urgency.

We represent organisations and initiatives worldwide that seek to use culture and the creative arts to improve understanding between different societies and ways of life, and where possible to help resolve conflicts. We are non- political. We all strive to remain loyal citizens of the countries we live in.

Osman Bey is an outstanding member of our community. He is a man of the highest principle. He is scrupulously honest, rigorously truth-seeking, brilliantly effective in everything he does, devotedly caring and magnificently generous. Osman Bey not only represents the best of what we as an informal group can offer; he is a wonderful ambassador for Turkish culture and for the values of empathy, passion, justice, tolerance and human dignity that characterise the Turkish way of life.

We collectively know Osman Bey well enough, as a person and through deep knowledge of the details of his life, to be sure beyond any shadow of a doubt that he has had absolutely no part whatsoever in activities intended to undermine the Turkish state, its democracy or indeed its President.

Like the rest of us, Osman Bey is a loyal citizen of his country.

We can only imagine that his imprisonment is a mistake. If this is the case, we beg you to look once again at the details of the accusations against him. If this is a deliberate fabrication and falsification of evidence against Osman Bey issuing from an interest group in Turkey or abroad, it is not only an act hostile to an outstanding force for good in our world, but also an act of hostility towards Turkey and everything that is noble in the Turkish way of life.

We wish to campaign for justice for Osman Bey in a manner that is respectful and supportive to Turkey and its democracy. 

Anwar Akhtar; British Pakistani writer, journalist, film and theatre producer

Tina Ellen Lee; FRSA Producer and Artistic Director European Citizen’s Prize 2015, Winston Churchill Finzi Fellow

Michael Lessac; theatre, television, and film director and screenwriter, Director and Founder of Global Arts Corps, Artistic Director of Colonnades Theatre Lab, Inc, New York and of Colonnades Theatre Lab, South Africa, Project Creator & Director of the international theatre piece, Truth in Translation.

Andrea López-Portillo; social weaver, M.A. media, peace and conflict studies. United Nations-mandated University for Peace, M.A. peace, development, security and international conflict transformation (2018). University of Innsbruck

Christina Maranci; American researcher, writer, translator, historian, Professor at Tufts University, expert on the history and development of Armenian architecture

Paula McFetridge; Director and Producer, Artistic Director Kabosh; International member of the League of Professional Theatre Women Belfast Ambassador Award 2014 for her work in using the arts to tackle difficult social issues; NITB Hero Award for her work in cultural tourism and economic regeneration 

Warren Nebe; Educator, Psychotherapist, Theatre Director, Managing Director; Expert specialist in Diversity Management and Training, HIV/Aids, Addictions and Trauma, and Social Behaviour Change Programmes; Academic focus in Arts Education, Arts Therapies and Arts Activism as Critical Pedagogy; Director, Drama for Life, University of the Witwatersrand; Managing Director, Themba - Initiatives for Life

Nigel Osborne; MBE FRCM FEIS FRSE Composer, Educator, Aid Worker; Professor Emeritus, University of Edinburgh, Consultant, Peking University; former Co-Chair GAC for Arts, World Economic Forum Adviser, Westminster and EU External Action Services Freedom Prize of the Peace Institute, Sarajevo; Field worker, SAWA for Development and Aid, Bekaa Valley, Lebanon

Clare Shine; Barrister at Law; former Theatre Critic, Financial Times

Thomas de Waal; British journalist and writer on the Caucasus, best known for his 2003 book Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War; Senior Fellow, Carnegie Europe