Turkish court acquits 9 individuals connected to 2013 Instanbul Gezi Park protests

Turkish court acquits 9 individuals connected to 2013 Instanbul Gezi Park protests”

The court ordered Kavala's release from detention in a high-profile trial was closely watched by rights groups, who had accused the Turkish government of using the judicial system to crack down on dissenting voices.

A court in Istanbul on Tuesday acquitted nine Turkish activists of terrorism-related charges related to anti-government protests, including a renowned philanthropist who has been jailed for more than two years.

Erdogan accused Kavala of being the "Turkish leg" of billionaire USA philanthropist George Soros, whom the Turkish leader alleged was behind insurrections in many countries. Defense lawyers were denied the right to cross-examine anonymous witnesses of the prosecution and to see some of the evidence.

It ordered seven defendants who live overseas to be brought in for questioning.

On March 4, 2019, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor's Office sent an indictment to the court, recommending aggravated life term for all the defendants charged with "attempting to overthrow the Turkish government". Their demo, criticized by Western allies, was regarded as a take a look at of justice in Turkey.

The crackdown accelerated after the 2016 coup attempt.

Ten defendants were charged with aiding terrorist organizations, including Kurdish and left-wing militants and the network led by a US -based cleric, which the Turkish government blames for the 2016 coup attempt and has designated as a terror group.

Critics of Erdogan's government have repeatedly questioned the independence of Turkish courts, especially since a crackdown following the failed 2016 coup attempt.

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The dragnet reached beyond Gulen's followers to include members of opposition political parties, journalists, university professors, civil society activists, and others. All of the defendants have since been released pending a verdict in the trial. Some protesters were accused of trying to overthrow the government. The indictment cast the Gezi demonstrations as part of a vast conspiracy linked to worldwide protest movements such as Occupy Wall Street and as a precursor to the 2016 coup attempt.

As chairman of the Anatolian Culture Foundation, which promotes human rights through art, Kavala even sought to build ties with neighbouring Armenia, with which Turkey has no diplomatic relations.

The European Court of Human Legal rights in December demanded his fast release, saying there was a deficiency of acceptable suspicion that he had committed a criminal offense. They were likewise anticipated to be acquitted.

"What can we say?"

Lisel Hintz, assistant professor of European and Eurasian Studies at Johns Hopkins University in the USA, said it was "hard not to speculate that there are divisions within the judiciary, that Turkey wanted to signal democratic progress to its Western allies".

Taner Kilic, former Turkey head of Amnesty International, along with 10 other human rights defenders, are facing up to 15 years in jail on terrorism charges.

"This decision resembles a deliberate and planned cruelty", Milena Buyum, the Turkey campaigner for Amnesty International, said in a statement.

The demonstrations grew into a wider protest movement across Turkey, challenging Turkey's prime minister at the time and now president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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