Duvar English

Journalist Murat Yetkin, in his last piece, analyzed the reasons for prominent Turkish businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala’s re-arrest only hours after his acquittal from the Gezi Park case. While reminding that Kavala is now accused of having links to the failed coup attempt of July 15, 2016 because of an alleged meeting with former U.S. official Henri Barkey, Yetkin underlines the inconsistencies in the narrative of prosecutors:

“Now let’s consider the accusation of linking with the July 15 coup attempt, which led to Kavala’s re-arrest; the claim that he met with Barkey, not before but three days after the coup attempt. Kavala had said in his interrogation that he had not met with Henri Barkey, but he had coincided with him as he was dining at Karaköy Lokantası with a group of friends and introduced him to his own friends; “that was all” he said. Four months ago, the court had decided that this was not enough proof to keep Kavala in prison. Flash forward to now, Kavala gets interrogated and then arrested again, right after being acquitted of the Gezi park charges.”

Yetkin, said that Barkey’s presence at a meeting in Büyükada (Princes’ island near Istanbul) on the day of the coup attempt, been put forth as proof that the Gülenists were in cooperation with the CIA in the coup plot. However, he argued that Barkey, whom he has had many conversations in the past, used to be sympathetic to Erdoğan’s vision. “I remember, in one of our conversations, Barkey had criticized my criticisms of Erdoğan’s government and accused Turkish secular intellectuals of not giving a chance to him,” Yetkin wrote.

“Would you like another example? Here it is. Nov. 21, 2013. Only a month to go for the corruption claims put forward by prosecutors and judges (all being either in jail or on the run dur to their role in the Gülenist organization) on Dec. 17-25, 2013. Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç was scheduled to meet with then-Vice President Joe Biden in Washington. During the visit, the Washington office of the pro-government think-tank SETA had organized a meeting for Arınç, in order for him to meet Turkish-U.S. specialists in Washington to get their views. We see Henri Barkey from the side, attentively listening to Arınç,” Yetkin added.

Yetkin said that Henri Barkey, with whom he has had many conversations in the past, once used to be sympathetic to Erdoğan’s vision and furthermore used to accuse Turkish secular intellectuals of not giving a chance to Erdoğan.

“I’m sure that, Erdoğan knows, as much as the judge that issued the decision to arrest Kavala, that meeting with Barkey, let alone having simply seen him on the spot like Kavala testifies, is not sufficient proof of being part of the July 15 military coup attempt. Then, there is the Kavala-Soros link; Erdogan, too, had met with George Soros in the past – even though he now targets him as the “Jewish billionaire”- and had strived to make Soros bring some of his investments to Turkey. This too, on its own, is too weak to be considered proof,” he wrote.

According to Yetkin it seems like the Kavala situation is becoming obsessional for Erdoğan, perhaps because he sees Kavala as the embodiment of everything he stands against.

Yetkin’s piece in full can be reached here.