Statement by Stiftung Mercator

Osman Kavala has been in detention for more than 100 days and we miss him dearly as a colleague, consultant and friend. A tireless bridge builder for dialogue and better understanding between Turkey and Europe, Osman Kavala continues to have our full support. He is a vital partner for the Stiftung Mercator.

One of our main tasks as a private and independent foundation is to bring people from Europe and Turkey together. We are not only connected geographically, but also politically, culturally, historically and economically. Turkey and Europe must work together to find solutions for common challenges, which is why we are committed to promoting exchanges with the Turkish society through our ongoing 37 projects.

The Stiftung Mercator has been supporting various projects of the organisation led by Osman Kavala, Anadolu Kültür, since 2011. One of these projects, TANDEM, has brought together more than 150 Turkish, German and European cultural managers. Through the German-Turkish Initiative for Cooperation on Refugee Relief, we are promoting the methodological exchanges between some 40 teachers, psychologists, artists and social workers to help improve integration of refugee children in schools and society. Kavala is also a member of the advisory council of the German-Turkish Youth Bridge, whose programmes have so far promoted the exchange of 5,500 students, young people and teachers from both countries.

The arrest and detention of Osman Kavala has significantly disrupted our work towards encounter and dialogue with Turkey and has cast a sense of uncertainty over our programme participants. While we continue to work towards fostering a close and trusting relationship between Turkey, Germany and Europe we are unable to do so effectively without partners like Osman Kavala.

As an independent German and European foundation, it is not for us to pass any political or legal judgement on the case against Osman Kavala. We continue to hope that the allegations against him will be clarified as quickly as possible and that he will soon be able to continue his tireless commitment to intercultural exchange and dialogue.

15 February 2018