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Turkish Opposition Activist Given Life Sentence by Sven R. Larson

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Turkish Opposition Activist Given Life Sentence

On Monday April 25th, Turkish publisher, philanthropist, and political activist Osman Kavala was handed a life sentence, after awaiting trial in jail for more than four years. From Deutsche Welle:

Turkish philanthropist Osman Kavala has been found guilty of attempting to overthrow the government by an Istanbul court. The rights activist was sentenced to life without possibility of parole.

Kavala is accused of having contributed to the funding of the protests in Gezi Park in Istanbul in 2013. The protests, which started as an act of opposition to urban development, sprawled into general opposition against President Erdogan. Millions of people participated in protests across Turkey. Kavala allegedly coordinated his involvement and financing with the Open Society Foundations, founded and funded by George Soros. 

Amnesty International, citing Turkish newspaper Sabah, alleges that the Open Society Foundations “made financial transfers to Kavala’s organization” from 2011 to 2017. In 2018, the Foundations ceased operations in Turkey.

In 2020, Kavala was acquitted by a court on similar charges. After being ordered released immediately after the acquittal, Kavala was arrested again only hours later, this time accused of involvement in a failed military coup in 2016. The coup failed when non-revolting units within the military failed to join and when public protests erupted against the attempted coup.

Sven R. Larson is a political economist and author. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from Roskilde University, Denmark. Originally from Sweden, he lives in America where for the past 16 years he has worked in politics and public policy. He has written several books, including Democracy or Socialism: The Fateful Question for America in 2024.