Message from Osman Kavala upon completion of his 500th day in prison

The indictment prepared against 16 people including myself and representatives of the Taksim Solidarity, who were previously acquitted of all charges pertaining to the Gezi incidents, has been submitted to and accepted by the court. The lack of connection and stark contradictions between the quite heavy charges brought against us in the indictment and the incident in question and findings at hand are immediately noticeable.

The version of events forming the basis of the indictment takes the Gezi incidents as a scheme concocted by George Soros, financed and organized by myself using his resources. This claim rests on newspaper articles, and reports, summaries of proceedings and informants' statements prepared and acquired by the police all while the FETO was still an active force in Law Enforcement. The course of events narrated and conversations featured in the indictment, however, are in direct contradiction with the version of the story it argues for. There are no conversations or proof of actions undertaken to support the claim that I pushed civil society organizations to continue, deepen and spread the Gezi protests in order to create a state of chaos as is often repeated in the indictment.

As also stated in the press conference held by the Taksim Solidarity, it is out of question for the Gezi events to have any mastermind, leader, person giving directives, head organization or financer within the country or without.

I firmly believe that all charges brought in this indictment shall eventually result in our acquittal. Yet I have been kept detained for 16 months waiting for this indictment to be prepared. Since the date for our hearing has been set at the end of June, I shall have been in prison for 18 months by the time I first appear before court unless I am released in the meantime. Yiğit Aksakoğlu shall have been detained for 7 months. As emphasized in the statement made by 17 institutions including the Ankara, İzmir, Van, and Diyarbakır Bar Associations, Amnesty International, and the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, this demonstrates exactly how long periods of detention are no longer a precautionary measure in our country, but have turned into a punishment in and of itself. The fact that spokespeople of the Taksim Solidarity, against whom charges were previously brought based on the very same incidents but resulted in either non-prosecution or acquittal, are being tried once again in this case is yet another brazen violation of law.

I would like to remind those who truly believe the Gezi events to be a foreign-financed attempt to topple the government: mass protests with rightful and legitimate claims may emerge and have done so all over the world against authoritarian regimes as well as democracies. In countries where democratic institutions and rules function effectively and elections are carried out freely these protests result not in taking down governments, but in a review and amendment of decisions and practices causing disconcert. Processes of making and implementing decisions may be much more arduous and longwinded in democracies than in non-democratic societies; yet the conclusion reached at the end shall be of the kind that proves this difficulty and delay worth bearing.

Osman Kavala, 15 March 2019