An İstanbul prosecutor is seeking a life in prison for Osman Kavala, a renowned businessman and a human rights advocate, on accusations of “attempting to destroy the government of the Republic of Turkey” through the Gezi Park protests of 2013.
A similar accusiation made by the prosecutor against Turkish architect Mücella Yapıcı.
Kavala has been in jail since November 2017 and has become a symbol of what activists say is the deliberate targeting of civil society. A respected figure in intellectual circles, Kavala is the chairman of the Anatolian Culture Foundation, which seeks to bridge ethnic and regional divides through art, including with neighboring Armenia, with which Turkey has no diplomatic ties.
The protests in 2013 erupted over government plans to demolish Gezi Park in Taksim. They quickly turned into mass anti-government demonstrations that were violently suppressed by the government, leading to the death of 11 protestors due to the use of disproportionate force by the police.