Kavala says Turkey needs to overcome prejudices, ensure cohesion
Jailed philanthropist Osman Kavala said Turkey needs to overcome its prejudices.
During a visit by Yildirim Kaya, the deputy chairman of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) in Silivri Prison, Kavala said he found CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu’s call for Turkish people of forgiving each other of any hurt done in the past (Helallesme) very positively.
“We need to reconnect. We need to overcome our prejudices. If we succeed and ensure cohesion, we will set an example not only for Turkey but also for the world,” Kaya cited Kavala as saying, following his visit to the prison on Sunday.
Kaya paid a visit to Gezi trial prisoners Osman Kavala, Can Atalay, Tayfun Kahraman ve Ali Hakan Altinay in Istanbul's Silivri Prison. Following his visit, he conveyed the four prisoners’ messages to Turkish people via a statement he made in front of the prison.
“They are sending greetings to everyone. They’re calling on Turkey’s democrats to unite. They will regain their freedom one day. We will achieve this, together,” Kaya told reporters.
An Istanbul court on April 25, convicted Kavala to life in prison without parole for seeking to overthrow the Turkish government by financing the Gezi Park protests of 2013. Seven others were also sentenced to 18 years in prison in the same case. The 64-year-old human rights activist Kavala was arrested in November 2017 and had spent four and a half years behind bars without a conviction ahead of April’s hearing. In 2019, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) called on Turkey to immediately release Kavala, citing lack of evidence and a breach to his rights to freedom. The court said that his arrest was politically motivated.
Kilicdaroglu last year said he would embark on a quest for “Helallesme” (the tradition of forgiving each other in Islamic belief before grand departures, especially before death).
“I have seen both hatred and love in our country, during my life. Now I want love to win. Our country needs healing. ‘Helallesmek’ won’t change the past, but will save our future,” he said.
Ben ömrümde, ülkemizde nefreti ve sevgiyi gördüm. Artık sevgi kazansın istiyorum. Ülkemizin iyileşmeye, helalleşmeye ihtiyacı var. Helalleşmek geçmişi değiştirmez ama geleceğimizi kurtarır. Geçmişte partimizin de hataları oldu; helalleşme yolculuğuna çıkma kararı aldım... pic.twitter.com/doAjSLrkh3— Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (@kilicdarogluk) November 13, 2021