The Constitutional Court Wednesday rejected a plea by Osman Kavala, a businessman linked to the 2013 Gezi Park riots as well as the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), who was arrested two years ago. Kavala's lawyers had claimed their client's rights were violated by the arrest.
An indictment seeking lifelong aggravated imprisonment for 16 suspects, including Kavala, for their alleged role in trying to overthrow the government by inciting the 2013 Gezi Park protests was accepted by a court in March.
The indictment citing 746 plaintiffs, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, accuses the suspects of financing and coordinating actions and protests that took place during the Gezi Park riots in 2013, while claiming that they had been involved and directed the aspects of an uprising since 2011. Prosecutors accuse defendants of holding a series of meetings to plan the riots and contacting foreign activists on how to launch riots. It said the defendants "at best wanted to force the government to resign or call early elections" and were making efforts "to prepare the grounds for a civil war or coup" if that did not happen.
Osman Kavala, who is known as the "Turkish Soros" for his links to famed Hungarian tycoon George Soros and worked with the latter's Open Society Foundation for nonprofit work, was accused of being chief financier and organizer of the riots.
Hundreds of thousands of people marched in Istanbul in June 2013 in what began as a peaceful protest against a plan to build a replica of an Ottoman barracks on Gezi Park in the city center. Following a harsh response by the police, which is now blamed on FETÖ, the protests turned into nationwide demonstrations and riots against the government of then-Prime Minister Erdoğan. At least 10 protesters and one police officer died during clashes or events related to the protests, while thousands of others were injured. Terrorist groups including the PKK and the far-left Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C) and various other fringe groups also jumped on the occasion, attacking security forces or taking part in rioting.