12/07/2020 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – The European Court of Human Rights adopted a resolution which again strongly urged Turkish authorities to immediately release Turkish philanthropist Osman Kavala. The resolution was published a week before the anniversary of the court’s decision that Kavala’s continued detention violated the European Convention on Human Rights and was politically motivated.
As a philanthropist, Kavala’s work in support of protecting non-Muslim cultural and historic site sites, as well as his recognition of religious diversity within Turkish society, is what led to his imprisonment. Though he has twice been acquitted of anti-government crimes under Article 309 and 328 of the Turkish penal code, he was promptly rearrested and remains detained. The prosecutor is seeking life imprisonment.
Unfortunately, his imprisonment is part of a larger trend by Turkey which involves erasing Christianity from the collective memory. Islam, and indeed Turks, are not indigenous to what is now geographically recognized as Turkey. However, Christianity, and particularly Armenian, Assyrian, and Greek communities, are indigenous. Modern Turkey suppresses this history, and by doing so, sends the message that Christian communities today are not welcome within society.
For more information on the state of religious freedom in Turkey, see this report.
For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org.