Amnesty International has called on Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel to take initiative for the release of Turkish businessman and philanthropist Osman Kavala, ahead of her meeting on Friday with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Istanbul.
Kavala should be released, and Amnesty International honorary chairman Taner Kılıç should be acquitted, Amnesty International’s Senior Researcher on Turkey Strategy, Andrew Gardner told German news agency DPA.
“Concrete steps to end the repression against human rights defenders must be the focus of talks between Angela Merkel and the Turkish president,” Gardner said.
Osman Kavala is charged with attempting to overthrow the government and masterminding the Gezi Park protests of 2013, the biggest anti-government protests in Turkey’s history, and has been in prison since November 2017.
Kavala remains in prison despite a European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruling last month, after a Turkish court declined to release the philanthropist.
Kavala’s next hearing will be held on Jan. 28, along with 15 other prominent civil society figures.
Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades also called on Merkel to relay to Erdoğan a message to immediately stop Turkey’s illegal activities in Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone, news site Duvar reported.
Merkel and Erdoğan are expected to discuss the Eastern Mediterranean crisis and Turkey drilling for natural gas, as well as the crises in Libya and Syria.