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Turkish court arrests businessman and civil activist Kavala

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Amid international calls for his release, an Istanbul court on Tuesday put businessmen and civil activist Osman Kavala, who was detained on Oct. 18, in pre-trial detention.

According to the state-run Anadolu news agency, Kavala was arrested on charges of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order and attempting to remove the government of the Turkish Republic.

The ruling came days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared Kavala a criminal and the “Turkish Soros.”

“The facts of Turkey’s Soros have been revealed. His connections have been exposed. Who are you trying to fool? The same person is behind the Taksim events [Gezi Park protests]. You can also see those who are behind financial support for some places. We will stand against those who try to hit this nation from within. We will pay them back,” Erdoğan said during his party group meeting in Parliament on Oct. 24.

Staunchly pro-Erdoğan Turkish newspapers Yeni Şafak and Güneş on Oct. 20 accused Kavala of funding terrorist organizations and betraying Turkey.

The detention of Kavala, who is also chairman of the İstanbul-based Anadolu Kültür Association, drew international condemnation.

“Vicious media then Turkish court jails civil society figure, businessman Osman Kavala on suspicion of coup. Smear campaigns trump justice,” said Emma Sinclair-Webb, Human Rights Watch (HRW) Turkey director, in her Twitter message on Tuesday.

European Parliament (EP) members on Oct. 25 urged the immediate release of Kavala in a cross-party letter.

Georges Dassis, president of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), Kati Piri, the European Parliament’s rapporteur for Turkey, Marietje Schaake, member of the European Parliament, Rebecca Harms, a member of the Greens/EFA group in the European Parliament, and Pier Antonio Panzeri, chair of the Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) in the European Parliament, joined calls for the release of Kavala.

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