Turkish court rules to keep Kavala in jail as Gezi case combined with Çarşı

A Turkish court on Monday joined a trial involving Turkey's massive 2013 Gezi Park protests, dubbed the Gezi Park protests, with a trial involving the Çarşı group, a left-leaning group of supporters of the Istanbul football team Beşiktaş, who were at the forefront of Gezi, Medyascope TV reported.

During Monday’s hearing, the Istanbul court also ordered for Turkish businessman Osman Kavala to be kept in jail in connection to the Gezi trial, according to Medyascope TV.

The 63-year-old prominent businessman and human rights defender, who was arrested in late 2017, faces life in prison for seeking to overthrow the constitutional order as part of his alleged role in the Gezi protests.

Kavala is on trial along with 15 other people over their alleged role in largest nationwide demonstrations to date against the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

The businessman and eight others accused of organising the protests had been acquitted of all charges in connection to protests in February 2020, but an appeal court overturned that ruling at the beginningof this year, prompting the case to resume in May.

The Istanbul court on Monday voted for the Gezi and Çarşı cases to be joined on grounds that they were “legally, effectively and personally connected,’’ Medyascope TV said.

Members of Çarşı, were among a group of 35 people acquitted over charges brought in 2014 of attempting to overthrow the government, and establishing and managing criminal and terrorist organisations. But Turkey's Court of Cassation in April overturned an acquittal verdict of all 35 members of the group. 

Kavala remains behind bars despite several rulings by Turkish courts and the European Court of Human Rights for his release. His fellow accused are not subject to the same pre-trial detention.

The next hearing in the now joint Gezi-Çarşı case is set to take place on Oct. 8, Medyascope TV said.

Kavala is also on trial over his alleged involvement in Turkey’s July 2016 coup attempt.

The jailed philanthropist in his indictment is accused  of collaborating with Henri Barkey, a prominent U.S.-based Turkey scholar, who is accused of links to the network of U.S.-based Turkish cleric Fethullah Gülen. Ankara accuses Gülen of orchestrating the coup attempt, a charge Gülen denies.

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