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Free Osman Kavala and all political prisoners in Turkey!

EGAM letter

On the night of October 18th, world-known Turkish philanthropist Osman Kavala was arrested by the police in a plane at the Istanbul Ataturk airport. Since then, he has been detained in prison and is facing violent although absurd accusations.

Passionately dedicated to his country, Osman Kavala has been engaged in a tireless work to heal Turkey’s sufferings and deepest demons. He has launched and supported cultural and civil society initiatives to transmit the histories and the diversity of the cultures of the peoples of Turkey, and has opened precious paths towards a more open and democratic Turkey.

There is no doubt that it is for these reasons that he has been indicted for “attempting to abolish the constitutional order and subvert the State”.

The current power accuses him of being no less than a secret leader of the Gezi movement, the architect behind the corruption scandals in which Erdogan’s close friends are involved, of being related to the Gulenists and to the 2016 coup attempt. In a harsh antisemitic move, the media close to the power have labelled him “the Red Soros”, the master of all possible conspiracies.

These accusations are as absurd as violent, and go beyond his individual case. Osman Kavala is not only a gentle, cultured and courageous man, but he has also become a symbol of the political prisoners in Turkey.

They are currently jailed, along with activists, intellectuals and artists, as with their diversity of opinions and backgrounds they represent the nationalists’ and islamists’ nightmare: an open and diverse society in which people are free and equal.

Following the arrests of thousands of political prisoners, that of Osman Kavala thus marks an escalating step into the oppression of democracy and human rights defenders in Turkey, and towards dictatorship.

We must put an end to these trends which are dangerous for Turkey as well as for the entire region and beyond.

Therefore, we ask for the immediate and unconditional release of Osman Kavala and all political prisoners in Turkey.

Signed by:

Benjamin Abtan, President of the European Grassroots Antiracist Movement – EGAM, Coordinator of the Elie Wiesel Network of parliamentarians of Europe, 

Alongside 80 Members of Parliament and Members of European Parliament from 17 countries:

Petra Bayr, Member of Parliament (Austria), Laura Castel Fort, Member of Parliament (Spain), Saša Magazinović, Member of Parliament (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Sjúrður Skaale, Member of Parliament (Denmark), Inge Höger, Member of Parliament (Germany), Carles Campuzano I Canadés, Member of Parliament (Spain), Carlota Merchán Mesón, Member of Parliament (Spain), E.M.J. Ploumen, Member of Parliament (Netherlands), Pia Elda Locatelli, Member of Parliament (Italy), Andrea Maestri, Member of Parliament (Italy), Gea Schirò, Member of Parliament (Italy), Giuseppe Romanini, Member of Parliament (Italy), Dorothee Bär, Member of Parliament (Germany), Ulrike Bahr, Member of Parliament (Germany), Liliane Maury Pasquier, Member of Parliament (Switzerland), Laurence  Fehlmann Rielle, Member of Parliament (Switzerland), Bedia  Özgökçe Ertan, Member of Parliament (Turkey), Christopher Stephens, Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Peter Bottomley, Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), John Mann, Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Nurten Yilmaz, Member of Parliament (Austria), Sarah Champion, Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Stephen Kinnock, Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Jones Graham P, Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Grahame Morris, Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Tom Brake, Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Aengus Ó Snodaigh, Member of Parliament (Ireland), Brian Stanley, Member of Parliament (Ireland), Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, Member of Parliament (Ireland), Carol Nolan, Member of Parliament (Ireland), David Cullinane, Member of Parliament (Ireland), Denise Mitchell, Member of Parliament (Ireland), Dessie Ellis, Member of Parliament (Ireland), Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, Member of Parliament (Ireland), Eoin Ó Broin, Member of Parliament (Ireland), Gerry Adams, Member of Parliament (Ireland), Imelda Munster, Member of Parliament (Ireland), John Brady, Member of Parliament (Ireland), Jonathan O’Brien, Member of Parliament (Ireland), Kathleen Funchion, Member of Parliament (Ireland), Louise O’Reilly, Member of Parliament (Ireland), Martin Ferris, Member of Parliament (Ireland), Martin Kenny, Member of Parliament (Ireland), Mary Lou McDonald, Member of Parliament (Ireland), Maurice Quinlivan, Member of Parliament (Ireland), Pat Buckley, Member of Parliament (Ireland), Peadar Tóibín, Member of Parliament (Ireland), Pearse Doherty, Member of Parliament (Ireland), Seán Crowe, Member of Parliament (Ireland), Christopher Williamson, Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Claude Janiak, Member of Parliament (Switzerland), Lezgin Botan, Member of Parliament (Turkey), Jim Shannon, Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Volker Beck, Member of Parliament (Germany), Claire O’Petit, Member of Parliament (France), Émilie Guerel, Member of Parliament (France), François-Michel Lambert, Member of Parliament (France), Paul Molac, Member of Parliament (France), Lisa Mazzone, Member of Parliament (Switzerland), Fabien Roussel, Member of Parliament (France), Olivier Faure, Member of Parliament (France), Luise Amtsberg, Member of Parliament (Germany), Christine Jardine, Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Julie Ward, Member of European Parliament (United Kingdom), Jude Kirton-Darling, Member of European Parliament (United Kigndom), José Bové, Member of European Parliament (France), ), Marietje Schaake, Member of European Parliament (Netherlands), Kati Piri, Member of European Parliament (Netherlands), Gabriele Zimmer, Member of European Parliament (Germany), Julie Ward, Member of European Parliament (United Kingdom), Bart Staes, Member of European Parliament (Belgium), Heidi Hautala, Member of European Parliament (Finland), Elmar Brok, Member of European Parliament (Germany), Péter Niedermüller, Member of European Parliament (Hungary), Bodil Valero, Member of European Parliament (Sweden), Georgi Pirinski, Member of  European Parliament (Bulgaria), José Inácio Faria, Member of European Parliament (Portugal), Lola Sánchez Caldentey, Member of European Parliament (Spain), Keith Taylor, Member of European Parliament (United Kingdom).

And 35 Human Rights and Antiracist NGOs from 28 countries:

Mario Mazic, Founder and Director of Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR) (Croatia), Dinko Sijerčić, Director of Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR) (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Dominique Sopo, President of SOS Racisme (France), Jenö Stet, We Belong to Here (Hungary), Marian Mandache, Executive director of Romani Criss, (Romania), Boris Raonic, Head of Civic Alliance (Montenegro), Ahmet Moawia, President of Greek Forum for Migrants (Greece), Anita Mitic, Director of Youth Initiative for Human Rights (Serbia), Haykak Arshamyan, Analyst at the Regional Studies Centre (Armenia), Dasha Mustafina, Director of Institute of Partnership and Sustainable Development (Ukraine), Deyan Kolev, Chairman of Amalipe Centre (Bulgaria), Magdalena Czyz, Vice-President of Open Republic (Poland), Miroslav Broz, Spokesperson of Konexe (Czech Republic), Jette Møller, President of SOS Mod Racisme (Denmark), Daryl Taylor, Rasmus Network (Finland), Anetta Kahane, Founder and President of Amadeu Antonio Stiftung (Germany), Angela Scalzo, Secretary General of SOS Razzismo (Italy), Aldo Merkoci, President of Mjaft! (Albania), Claudia Schäfer, CEO of ZARA (Austria), Alexander Pollak, Director of SOS Mitmensch (Austria), Krassimir Kanev, Chairperson of the Board of the Bulgarian Helsinki Committee (Bulgaria), Albert Selimi, Spokesperson for Youth Initiative for Human Rights (Kosovo), Anhelita  Kamenska, Director of Latvian Centre for Human Rights (Latvia), Hristo Ivanovski, President of Alliance for Human Rights (Macedonia), Natalia Mardari, Coordinator of the Moldovan Institute for Human Rights (Moldova), Rune Steen, Director of the Antirasistisk Senter (Norway), Jovana Vukovic, Director of Regional Centre for Minorities (Serbia), Alena Krempaska, Human rights institute (Slovakia), Aleš Kranjc Kušlan, Director of Ekvilib Institute (Slovenia), Godwyll Osei Amoako, President of Centrum Mot Rasism (Sweden), Mikael Farnbo, Expo (Sweden), Levent Sensever, Spokesperson for Durde! (Turkey), Natalia Tarmas, Committee for Defence of Democracy (Poland), Nicolai Radita, President of Centrul National al Romilor (Moldova), Nadia Gortzounian, President of AGBU Europe (France), Nicolas Tavitian, Director of AGBU Europe (Brussels).