President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday said detained human rights activist and prominent businessman Osman Kavala was behind the Gezi protests of 2013, calling him Turkey’s George Soros, the T24 news website reported.
“The facts of Turkey’s Soros have been revealed. His connections have been exposed. Who are you trying to fool? The same person is behind the Taksim events [Gezi Park protests]. You can also see those who are behind financial support for some places. We will stand against those who try to hit this nation from within. We will pay them back,” said Erdoğan during his party group meeting in Parliament.
Erdoğan also commented on a US demand for the mobile phone of arrested US Consulate General employee Metin Topuz: “Alleging diplomatic immunity, the US tries to claim his [Topuz’s] mobile. This is not the case, who are trying to kid.”
US authorities sent a diplomatic note to Turkey on Oct. 10 demanding the return of Topuz’s seized mobile phone. Topuz was arrested on Oct. 4 on espionage charges and alleged links to some leading members of the faith-based Gülen movement.
Kavala, chairman of the İstanbul-based Anadolu Kültür Association, was detained by Turkish police upon his arrival at İstanbul Atatürk airport late on Oct. 18.
The pro-Erdoğan Sabah daily reported on Tuesday that Kavala and Topuz are part of the same investigation into the 2013 Gezi protests, corruption operations in December 2013 and a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
According to Sabah, a member of the Turkuvaz group, run by Serhat Albayrak, brother of Berat Albayrak, Turkish energy minister and son-in-law of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Kavala and Topuz are accused of attempting to destroy the constitutional order and overthrow the Turkish government.
The daily also said Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies (ORSAM) Director Şaban Kardaş, who was detained at his home in Ankara on Oct. 20, and two other people linked to the Gülen movement are also suspects in the same investigation.
Staunchly pro-government Turkish newspapers Yeni Şafak and Güneş on Oct. 20 accused Kavala of funding terrorist organizations and betraying Turkey.