Confirmed Conviction of Osman Kavala Dismays European Foundations and Cultural Mediators
2 Oct 2023
Contrary to the ruling of the European Court of Human Rights: Confirmed conviction of Osman Kavala dismays European foundations and cultural mediators
The German-Turkish Youth Bridge, the European Cultural Foundation, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, the Goethe Institute, the Heinrich Böll Foundation, MitOst e.V. and the Stiftung Mercator strongly condemn that on September 28, Turkey’s Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the verdict against Osman Kavala. Kavala’s sentence to life imprisonment a few days ago was made contrary to a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and, from the perspective of European foundations, is a bitter setback for relations between Europe and Turkey.
The Turkish promoter of art, culture and civil society, Osman Kavala, who should be released immediately according to the ECHR ruling, has been imprisoned since 2017 on various, baseless charges – under particularly difficult conditions. The sentence of life imprisonment under difficult conditions is the highest possible punishment under Turkish law.
With determined commitment, Osman Kavala creates freedom for civil society and culture. He promotes mutual understanding and solidarity among people in Turkey and throughout Europe. As a person and as a patron, Osman Kavala makes an irreplaceable contribution to a democratic Turkey. His imprisonment is damaging civil society bridges between Europe and Turkey and massively weakens trust in an independent judiciary in Turkey. The hope of an appeal was dashed when the verdict was confirmed.
According to a December 2019 ECHR ruling, Kavala’s detention violates the European Convention on Human Rights, to which Turkey is also a signatory. After an Istanbul court acquitted him in February 2020, the public prosecutor’s office had him arrested again on the same day. The refusal of the Turkish authorities to release Osman Kavala from prison prompted the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe to initiate infringement proceedings against Turkey in December 2021.
Philipp Albrecht | Board of Directors | Heinrich Böll Foundation
Johannes Ebert | Chairman of the Board, Secretary General | Goethe Institute e.V.
Dr. Daniel Grütjen | Managing Director | German-Turkish Youth Bridge
Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger | Deputy Chairwoman of the Board of Directors | Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom
Dr. Wolfgang Rohe | Chairman of the Board | Mercator Foundation
Jotham Sietsma | Board of Directors | MitOst e.V.
Martin Schulz | Chairman | Friedrich Ebert Stiftung
Andre Wilkens | Director | European Cultural Foundation