The 2019 European Archaeological Heritage Prize has been bestowed on prominent Turkish businessman and activist Osman Kavala who has been held in pre-trial detention in İstanbul’s notorious Silivri Prison since November 2017 on terror and coup charges.

According to, Mr Kavala was granted the prize “for promoting the social values of our shared heritage and his contributions and vision in the field of cultural heritage.” The prize was presented during the Opening Ceremony of the 25th EAA Annual Meeting in Bern, Switzerland, on 4 September 2019. İsmail Yavuz Özkaya, the chair of the Association for the Protection of the Cultural Heritage,accepted the award on behalf of Kavala.

Detained upon his arrival to İstanbul’s Atatürk airport late on October 18, 2017, Kavala is accused of “attempting to abolish the constitutional order” and “attempting to remove the government of the Turkish Republic,” according to Turkish media.

Kavala was born in 1957 in Paris and studied economics at the University of Manchester. Upon his father’s passing in 1982, he took over the management of the Kavala Companies.

He was active in the establishment of a number of business organizations in Turkey, including Turkish-Polish and Turkish-Greek business councils and the Association of Tourism Investors.