Accusation of attempted coup – culture promoter Osman Kavala sentenced to life imprisonment – News

  • A court in Istanbul has sentenced the internationally renowned cultural promoter Osman Kavala to life imprisonment.
  • The judges found him guilty of attempted coup in connection with the 2013 Gezi mass protests against the Turkish government at the end of a widely criticized trial.

Kavala has been in custody since November 2017. The courtroom responded immediately to the decision with boos and loud protests. The verdict is not yet legally binding.

According to the indictment, the allegations in the proceedings were an attempted coup in connection with the mass protests in Gezi Park in Istanbul in 2013 and “political and military espionage” in connection with the attempted coup in 2016.


Osman Kavala had always denied all allegations against himself, calling them “conspiracy theories” and seeing himself as a victim of political instrumentalization by the government.

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The case brought sharp international criticism to Turkey. For this reason, the country is threatened with expulsion from the Council of Europe. The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) had already ordered the release of the human rights activist in 2019 and classified the detention as politically motivated.

At the end of 2021, a diplomatic scandal broke out after ten ambassadors in Turkey wrote to demand the release of Kavala. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan saw this as inadmissible interference and threatened the diplomats with expulsion.

In the past, Erdogan had publicly referred to Kavala as the backer of the Gezi protests and as a financier of terrorism. Kavala’s lawyers had criticized this as improper interference in ongoing court proceedings. The government defends itself against such allegations by referring to the independence of the Turkish judiciary.

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