Turkey: Osman Kavala sentenced to life in prison

Turkish philanthropist and human rights activist Osman Kavala was sentenced to life in prison on Monday on charges of attempting to overthrow the government. Seven co-defendants accused of aiding him are to serve 18 years in prison. The convictions have caused a stir in and outside Turkey.

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Naftemporiki (GR) /

Yet another monstrosity

The Turkish government should be ashamed of its hypocritical policies, Naftemporiki admonishes:

“Turkish opposition leaders complain that the courts have been turned into an 'instrument of revenge' by Erdoğan's government and have vowed to repeal the sentence if they win the 2023 elections. Until then, however, the Turkish president will continue to present himself as a 'missionary' of peace, bringing Putin and Zelensky to the same table. At the same time, Ankara relentlessly continues its attacks on the Kurds in Iraq and Syria and provocatively violates the sovereign rights of Greece and Cyprus. ... Are there any limits to its unashemedness?”

France Inter (FR) /

Erdoğan following in Putin's footsteps?

Europe commits its members, France Inter stresses:

“The world has changed, and a man like Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has understood this perfectly well. However, the increasingly multipolar world in which countries like Turkey naturally have their place must not mean that there are no rules. Respect for the rule of law is part of the bedrock of values underlying the Council of Europe, and President Erdoğan cannot exempt himself from it with impunity. ... Russia under Putin recently left the Council after invading Ukraine. Does Erdoğan's Turkey want to belong to the same category of pariahs? The extremely unjust sentence for Osman Kavala risks just that.”

T24 (TR) /

All protesters should turn themselves in

On T24, physician and academic Talat Kırış admits he participated in the Gezi Park protests and calls on others to follow his example:

“I call on all those who took part in the Gezi Park protests to turn themselves in. I want you to know that even though you have convicted eight people, eighty, eight hundred, eight thousand, eight hundred thousand, eight million or maybe more will oppose you. I appeal to the prosecutors and judges in this country who show no interest when politicians take bribes from the mafia, who release a fighter of Turkish Hezbollah who ordered the deaths of 91 people and got life in prison for it, who allow so many rapists and murderers of women to be released for good behaviour but then all of a sudden remember the law when it comes to leftists, justice seekers, and civil resisters.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Sadly not an isolated case

The life sentence for the Turkish philanthropist is a mockery of the law, writes the Neue Zürcher Zeitung:

“The accusation that he tried to overthrow the government is as absurd as it is unproven. The ruling is also an open affront to the European Court of Human Rights, which already condemned Kavala's imprisonment as unlawful at the end of 2019 and demanded his release in what should have been a binding decision. ... The proceedings against Kavala may have been particularly absurd, but this is not the only such case. Since the attempted coup in July 2016 Erdogan has had tens of thousands of officers, officials and prosecutors he doesn't like sentenced to long prison terms, in disregard of the most elementary legal principles.”

Star (TR) /

The public enemies are among us

The pro-government Star rages against critics of the verdict and of the government:

“This secret underground alliance cooperated in the Gezi Park protests, the 17-25 December operations, the Kobane uprising as well as the 15 July coup attempt. ... Thank goodness they didn't get away with it. Under Erdoğan's leadership the will of the state and the people has settled scores with them. ... And precisely because these sombre creatures from the underground are being eliminated one by one, their masters are now looking for new channels. ... Their fingerprints can also be seen in the reactions of the opposition alliance of six parties plus the HDP. ”