Osman Kavala, the most important representative of Turkish civil society, has now been sentenced to life in prison, for having financed and supported the Gezi Park movement and having allegedly played a role in organising the attempted coup d’état of July 15th, 2016. Other 7 accused, all human rights activists including Can Atalay, Mücella Yapıcı, Çiğdem Mater, Hakan Altınay, MineÖzerden, Tayfun Kahraman and Yiğit Ali Ekmekçi, will have to face 18 years in prison.
- The acquittal and immediate new arrest of the philantropist shows the determination of Erdogan to uproot any remain of rule of a law in Turkey
- In recent days the AKP, the Islamic-conservative party led by Prime Minister Erdogan, celebrated its tenth anniversary in government while unprecedented protests were being held in a number of Turkish cities. The epicentre for these protests is Istanbul and more specifically Taksim Square, which the government intends to subject to greatly opposed construction plans, involving a reduction of the Gezi Park, the building of a shopping mall and a large mosque. The police’s brutal reaction to peaceful protests has resulted in thousands more taking to the streets. There protests against Prime Minister Erdogan are extremely harsh and have at times been interpreted as secular Turkey’s reaction to Islamist repression imposing strict religious provisions through laws such as the one forbidding alcohol sales in shops after 10 p.m..