Turkey’s main opposition Republican People´s Party (CHP) leader on Tuesday accused the government of seeking revenge against human rights activist Osman Kavala through his multiple arrests.
The arrest of the philanthropist is not a “matter of justice, but a matter of revenge,’’ state-run Anadolu news agency cited Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu as saying at his party’s parliamentary group meeting.
“If you are fabricating another crime from the same [court] file, you are seeking revenge against him,’’ Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Kavala was first arrested on charges of attempting to overthrow the government as part of the 2013 Gezi protests, a nationwide wave of protests against the ruling Justice and Development Party, which left eight protestors and a police officer dead.
The Turkish businessman was re-arrested in February of this year on charges of espionage as part of the July 15, 2016, coup attempt, just hours after he was acquitted of trying to overthrow the government.
Kavala is accused of membership in the Gülen movement, a religious group led by U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, who Ankara says orchestrated the failed putsch.
Kavala also drew a parallel between the arrest of Kavala and Selahattin Demirtaş, the former co-chair of pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
“He is also always acquitted, and always arrested of a new [court] file. They think that they will ask (the government) for mercy. Why? They are not guilty,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.
Demirtaş is accused of a string of terror-related charges. In September, the Kurdish politician was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison after he was convicted of spreading terrorist propaganda and public incitement to hatred and hostility.
Turkey’s newly formed opposition party DEVA lawmaker Mustafa Yeneroğlu also condemned the arrest of Kavala, who has spent over 1,000 behind bars.
“What is more worrying is that he was re-arrested on another fictionalized and empty file,” Yeneroğlu said.