Osman Kavala's Lawyers Held a Briefing Following the Gezi Case Hearing

9 October 2019

The third hearing of the Gezi Park Case was held on 8 October 2019 Tuesday at the 30th High Criminal Court of Istanbul and the court decided for the continuation of Osman Kavala’s detention. Kavala’s lawyers Köksal Bayraktar, Deniz Tolga Aytöre and İlkan Koyuncu held a briefing after the court’s decision.

Noting that the chief judge presiding the case was changed for the third time, Köksal Bayraktar made the following statement: “The process before the hearings was overseen by a different judge. In the first hearing held at Silivri, we saw that the chief judge had changed. The chief judge presiding the second hearing had issued an interim decision for the release of Kavala. However, because the other two judges opposed the discharge, Osman Kavala was not released. Later, this chief judge was also changed and this time we were faced with a third chief judge.

We saw that only the senior member judge remained on the case throughout the process. And he was the judge who voted for the continuation of Kavala’s detention in each hearing. In the hearing last week, the chief judge directed questions to our client from the subject headings in the indictment. While there is no open obligation regarding the monitoring of communication during the Gezi incidents, while it is not legal to tap phone conversations, these wire taps are included in the indictment. The chief judge asked our client about these illegal wire taps. Despite the objection of one of our lawyers, he continued his questions. The presiding judge even asked Kavala the following question: “Americans, Germans come and find you. Isn’t there anyone else left in Turkey for them to come talk to?” What has this question got to do with concrete evidence?

Tolga Aytöre, speaking after Bayraktar, said “If on the first day of a case politicians get up and speak, if the chief judge is changed constantly, if the judge who asks for a release is removed from the case 15 days after he is assigned, there is nothing left for us to say.”

Noting that their statements and their attitude in the hearings entailed the quest for a solution based on legal grounds, Aytöre asserted “However, this case is not conducted in this manner” and said the situation could not be explained within the confines of the law. He continued:

 “In the beginning of the detention period, we had said that we believed in the judicial process and were hopeful of the proceedings. However, this is where the case stands now: Those who have been released in scope of the 17-25 December investigation have been released because the evidence was obtained illegally. That evidence is now in the Gezi Case file.

The law states that collecting false evidence cannot be considered as evidence. The evidence collected by the people who conducted the 17-25 December investigation constitutes the entirety of the Gezi indictment. The entire case consists of illegal wire taps.

The prosecutor has to either reopen the 17-25 December case or this case should be dropped. Saying that these are evidence here while maintaining they are not in the other case is hypocrisy to say the least.”

Stating that they did not expect three different judges in three hearings, İlhan Koyuncu noted “the fact that the judge who asked for a release was removed is particularly telling.” Koyuncu also said that they expected a decision of violation of rights for Kavala’s appeal to the European Court of Human Rights soon.

Osman Kavala’s wife Professor Prof. Ayşe Buğra who also took the floor at the briefing said "The last two years have been very difficult for us. Osman Kavala has a 90-year-old mother, she is waiting. Ever since the day my husband was taken into custody, I’ve opted for waiting for the judicial process. I believed in the law. Now there is a more painful aspect of this case for me. I have lost my faith in the independence of the judiciary and international legal norms in Turkey. This is partly why all of this is so distressing for me.”