Excerpts from Osman Kavala’s Defense Statement
Below are the excerpts from the defense statement given by Osman Kavala on 18 December 2020:
None of the charges in this indictment are based on any facts, evidence, or objective evaluation of a concrete criminal act. These are allegations that are in stark contrast to my worldview, ethical values, and the goals of the projects carried out by the civil society organizations under my supervision.
In the absence of concrete evidence, each allegation is presented as a justification to another, and the accusations were intertwined to create the impression that I am guilty.
At the beginning of the indictment, it is stated that in order to understand the charges of political and military espionage that brought against me, there is a need for describing what occurred during the Gezi events, and the excerpts from the Gezi indictment, which had been prepared by the same prosecutor, are presented as objective reality.
In the indictment, the allegation that I had been in close contact with Henri Barkey is used as the basis of the charges concerning both my participation in the organization of the 15 July coup attempt and my involvement in acts of espionage. There is no evidence shown that I had passed on any information or document to Henri Barkey and no evidence showing that I had been in touch with him.
The fictional narrative around my involvement in civil society initiatives as a way to conduct espionage operations has also no basis in reality. Instead of presenting any evidence, the indictment goes at length about conspiracy theories around espionage and arrives at conclusions about Anadolu Kultur through assumptions and speculations without any factual basis.
In the context of the abstract analyses of the Prosecution around civil society’s involvement in espionage activities, it is argued that after the Second World War, foreign countries actively started to use civil society organizations as a means of gathering intelligence. The prosecution has intentionally confounded the present activities of civil society organizations that serve to contribute to democracy with the political and ideological activities undertaken during the Cold War Era.
The allegation that Anadolu Kultur’s intentions are to bring enmity among the citizens and weaken their ties to the state constitutes a vicious slander. In order for citizens who are part of ethnic or religious minorities to have strong ties to the state, they should feel and think of themselves as equal members of the society. I believe that their being able to freely express themselves and share their experiences with other members of the society is a necessary condition for equality.
During the past 20 years, Anadolu Kultur activities carried out in different cities have never been suspected of having anything to do with espionage by the municipal officials, Security Forces and MIT (National Intelligence Organization). The fact that the Prosecution alleges that these activities were espionage-related, also means the underestimation of the operations and the surveillance capacity of the institutions of the Republic of Turkey.
The fact that I have been detained for years based on such bizarre allegations, despite the violation decision of the European Court of Human Rights, the acquittal decision of the local court and the two releases, is not just a simple violation of rights; it has become an ongoing torment.
I hope this indictment, which includes the most extreme examples of unfounded, non-substantiated, and illogical charges leading to our citizens’ deprivation of their freedom, will be the last one of its kind.