• Court: Kavala must remain in prison for the duration of the trial
  • 10 Western emissaries demanded his release
  • Erdogan threatened to expel them before backing down

ISTANBUL, Nov.26 (Reuters) – A Turkish court ruled on Friday that philanthropist Osman Kavala should remain in prison, extending his detention for four years without a conviction in a trial that has further strained relations between Ankara and its Western allies.

The trial has been criticized as being politically motivated and symbolic of a crackdown on dissent under President Tayyip Erdogan. The government rejects this and declares that the Turkish courts are independent. Read more

Last month, Erdogan threatened to expel ambassadors from 10 countries, including the United States, Germany and France, after they echoed a decision by the European Court of Human Rights. the man (ECHR) that Kavala should be released.

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The prospect of further deterioration in ties with the West added to the pressure on the Turkish lira at the time, which has reached new highs since September mainly due to interest rate cuts. The currency fell slightly after Friday’s decision. Read more

The court decided by majority vote to keep Kavala in prison for the duration of his trial. He set the next hearing for January 17, adding that he would assess his imprisonment on December 23.

Kavala, who attended the hearings via video link, did not attend Friday’s hearing.

His wife, opposition lawmakers and diplomats from some of the 10 embassies involved in the case were in the crowded Istanbul courtroom. The square outside the courthouse was filled with dozens of riot police vehicles and water cannons.


Deniz Tolga Aytore, Kavala’s lawyer, said he supported his client’s decision not to participate in the hearings, saying his right to a fair trial was being violated.

“We are being tried at meetings of groups of political parties, and judicial officials do nothing about it. As a result, our right to a fair trial is being violated,” he said, referring to parliamentary groups of gone.

Kavala was acquitted last year of charges related to national protests in 2013 focused on Istanbul’s Gezi Park, but the ruling was overturned this year and combined with charges in another case related to an attempted coup. ‘State in 2016. He denied any wrongdoing. Read more

Aytore said requests for Kavala’s release were rejected on charges related to the 2013 protests, while his arrest was based on espionage charges related to the 2016 coup attempt.

He also listed inconsistencies in the allegations with reports from officials who refute the indictment allegations.

Kavala, 64, is on trial along with 51 others in a combination of three separate cases relating to the 2013 protests and the 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan and his government. Read more

The ECHR called for Kavala’s release at the end of 2019 due to a lack of reasonable suspicion that he had committed an offense, ruling that his detention served to silence him.

The Council of Europe has said it will initiate infringement proceedings against Turkey if Kavala is not released. This could eventually lead to Turkey’s expulsion from the body. Read more

Some European Union officials have said that any deepening of economic ties with Ankara, including updating their customs union, depends on progress in human rights and the rule of law in Turkey.

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Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Daren Butler, Giles Elgood and Gareth Jones

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