AB Bölgeler Komitesi Başkanı Dassis’den Büyükelçi Faruk Kaymakçı’ya Kavala mektubu (english)
H.E. Mr. Faruk Kaymakçı
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Permanent Representation of Turkey to the European Union
Brussels, 26 October 2106
Dear Mr. Ambassador,
I am writing to express my disappointment and concern regarding the detention of civil society leader and businessman Osman Kavala held under a secret investigation at a counter-terrorism unit. I also regret to see Mr. Kavala publicly incriminated, in advance of any judicial process, by President Erdogan in his speech to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) parliamentary group on 24 October, 2017.
According to our information, Mr. Kavala, a major exponent of the Turkish civil society, as a prominent businessman has devoted time, money and energy to generously support important civil society projects including refugee relief and various social and cultural initiatives to foster peace, democracy and unity through cultural diversity. A defender of human and civic rights, children’s rights in particular, among other things, he has funded schooling projects for children affected by war.
As the President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), which is the formal European institution and voice for civil society, and as a lifelong active supporter of Turkey’s EU membership, I have resolutely condemned the sinister coup attempt of July 2016 at every opportunity. I am, however, alarmed to witness a trail of persecution and detentions often with scant evidence and scarce transparency undermining democracy, freedom of speech and the rule of law.
In this light, I urge the Turkish authorities to speedily release Mr. Kavala and to take the necessary steps needed towards positive reforms to protect and consolidate the rule of law and democracy ensuring fundamental rights and freedoms in a safe environment of consultation, dialogue and consensus required for the operation of civil society.