Jailed businessman and civil activist Osman Kavala has said he was jailed immediately following a statement made by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, implying that the judiciary was operating under political pressure.
“Just like the human rights defenders at Buyukada were targeted by President Erdogan, I was arrested following statements made by Erdogan,” Kavala told Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies Veli Agbaba and Senal Sarihan during a visit by the lawmakers to Silivri Prison on Monday.
Accused of attempting to abolish the constitutional order and attempting to remove the government of the Turkish Republic, Kavala was detained on Oct. 18 and was put in pretrial detention after a two-week detention.
While Kavala was in police custody, Erdogan said: “The facts of Turkey’s Soros have been revealed. His connections have been exposed. Who are you trying to fool? The same person was 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 a parliamentary group meeting.
Kavala has been under investigation in the same probe that led to the Oct. 4 jailing of US Consulate General employee Metin Topuz over alleged ties to the Gulen movement.
The Turkish government accuses the movement of masterminding a July 15, 2016 coup attempt. The movement denies any involvement.
Eight human rights activists, including Amnesty International’s Turkey Director İdil Eser, spent more than 100 days in pretrial detention on terror charges before being released on Oct. 26. They had been detained while attending a digital security workshop on the Istanbul island of Buyukada. (Turkey Purge)