Human rights activist Osman Kavala, who has been imprisoned for four years and has not still been released despite a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) calling for his immediate release, has said that he has decided to no longer defend himself in court after Turkish president Tayyip Erdoğan recently intervened in his case publicly calling him a ‘Soros leftover’.
Kavala released a statement from prison, stating that the term Erdoğan had used was regrettable and did not match the weight of the high office he was supposed to be representing.
Noting that he had served as a board member of the Turkish Open Society Foundation but never as the chair, nor ever had any authority to represent George Soros (the businessperson and founder of the foundation) he underlined that Erdoğan on the other hand had met Soros even before the establishment of the foundation, and his top officials had been in dialogue with Soros up until recently.
“I have been imprisoned for four years although the charges against me lack any sort of evidence,” he said.
“The degrading words and the smearing by the president against someone who has not even been yet convicted and still facing trial constitute an attack on human dignity. These are messages which give the impression that I am guilty and they have direct influence upon the members of the judiciary. Therefore I believe that a fair trial process is no longer possible under these conditions and it is meaningless for me to attend any more of the hearing sessions and continue with a defence. As a person who defends the rule of law, I think it would be wrong to take a step that would legitimise the situtation that the judiciary is now faced with.”