A U.S.-based documentary maker produced a 10-minute opera about jailed philanthropist Osman Kavala and his pet snails. The human rights activist and businessman has been imprisoned for nearly a thousand days, and adopted two snails as pets in prison. The volunteers recorded the opera from remote locations, only to be mixed together later.
Turkish main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu shared a video on social media to commemorate the seventh anniversary of Turkey's historic Gezi protests of 2013. The CHP leader read a poem by Turkish poet Nazım Hikmet to show solidarity with the protests, which started off with an environmental message but quickly became an anti-government movement.
A Turkish prosecutor appealed the acquittal of philanthropist, businessman and human rights activist Osman Kavala and eight others over their alleged role in the 2013 Gezi Park protests. A 90-page document from the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office, dated April 8, called for the Gezi case acquittal rulings to be annulled and for the defendants to be convicted as charged.
Turkey's Constitutional Court has ruled for a right violation in the case into a protester hit by a gas canister fired by police during Gezi Park protests of 2013, as it also fined the state to pay 10,000 Turkish Liras to the complainant as compensation. It also questioned whether police officers who used tear gas received the necessary training, concluding that the complainant was wounded as a result of uncontrolled use of tear gas.
Renowned philanthropist and human rights activist Osman Kavala criticized the successive court rulings to keep him in jail, saying that they are maneuvers to keep him in prison. "I get acquitted and another court case is brought up urgently to keep me in prison. When it drops, a third case is brought up! I'm ashamed on their behalf over what has been happening," Kavala told CHP deputy Utku Çakırözer.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Feb. 26 that being a rich socialist shouldn't be enough to save prominent human rights activist Osman Kavala, as he commented on the Gezi Park trial. "Gezi is a betrayal against this country," Erdoğan said, while claiming that Kavala has pictures with "terrorist organizations." A day earlier, European Parliament called on Turkey to release Kavala and former HDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş.
An Istanbul court has released its reasoned decision to acquit nine people in the Gezi Park trial, including Osman Kavala. The court said no credible evidence had been provided to give substance to claims against Kavala. The philanthropist's wiretapped telephone conversations were made “unlawfully,” and therefore could not constitute as “evidence,” it also said.
A deputy from the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for a photo showing him with businessman George Soros, Ankara's main suspect for having funded the 2013 anti-government Gezi protests. "What does this leg belong to?" said CHP group deputy chairperson Engin Altay as he held up the photo. This was a response to comments made by Erdoğan about Osman Kavala being "Soros' arm in Turkey."
Osman Kavala had to abandon the snails he was looking after in Silivri Prison after a court ordered his rearrest hours after another court ruled to acquit him. Following his acquittal, Kavala wanted to take the snails he looked after in Silivri Prison home, but had to give them to his lawyer when a detention warrant was issued.
Just as Kavala was preparing for his release after 840 days spent in the Silivri Prison, the prosecutor’s office announced the philanthropist would be questioned on “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order." This proves how partial, arbitrary and politically involved the Turkish judiciary is. Yet the dynamics of this process remain unclear.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that a court "attempted" to acquit prominent businessman, human rights activist and philanthropist Osman Kavala with "a maneuver." "We respect all decisions of courts, but our and our people's judgement about Gezi and who supported it will never change," he said.