By Borzou Daraghahi
ISTANBUL (The Independent) — Hours after he was acquitted by a court and freed after more than two years in jail, a high-profile Turkish philanthropist was rearrested on separate charges in a case that has raised questions about the rule of law in Turkey.
A surprise court decision on Tuesday, February 18, to drop charges against Osman Kavala, 63, and eight other defendants, of undermining Turkey’s national security by taking part in the 2013 Gezi park anti-government protests prompted applause in the courtroom.
Even pro-government circles and supporters of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan voiced quiet relief that a court case based on little evidence – and one which had drawn scrutiny from diplomats and international advocacy groups – was finally concluding.
But Kavala’s rearrest later the same day, on fresh accusations that he participated in a deadly failed 2016 coup attempt, allegedly perpetrated by the spiritual movement of exiled religious scholar Fethullah Gulen, dashed those hopes.
“It was Erdogan who ordered the arrest of Kavala, and it was he who ordered his release today,” pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) lawmaker Garo Paylan was quoted as saying by local media.