DAI joins the protests against the arrest and imprisonment of Osman Kavala, one of Turkey’s most prominent civil society activists and cultural ambassadors.

19.11.17 | tag: Istanbul

DAI joins the protests against the imprisonment of donor and cultural mediator Osman Kavala who was detained on 18th of October and arrested on 1st of November, points to a further escalating dimension.

For 30 years Osman Kavala has been committed to culture and education in Turkey. As founder and president of the cultural foundation “Anadolu Kültür”, and as a member of many committees, he has built civil society bridges to Europe and neighboring countries with others in Turkey for decades. With passion and especially with artistic projects, he defends the cultural, ethnical and religious diversity within Turkey. At the same time, he maintains relationships with artists in Europe and the whole world as one of the notable intellectuals of Turkey.

Osman Kavala is a person who listens to others. A person who stands for an equitable cultural practice beyond demagogy and agitation. A person who speaks up for reconciliation and rule of law without attacking or condemning others, for a society in which the greatest asset is its diversity

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Over the past 12 years there were several occasions (most notably during the days of Here As The Centre Of The World) where the Dutch Art Institute's staff and project leaders have been deeply impressed by Osman Kavala in his role of ethically precise and most careful guide to the diverse Turkey, the welcoming and open Turkey that our wishful thinking in those days naively (mis)took for granted. Osman Kavala helped to connect DAI's international student body with brilliant, Turkey based art workers from a wide variety of geo-political and cultural backgrounds. The news of Kavala's arrest and imprisonment fills us with sadness and anger, as it marks a disquieting low in Erdogans ongoing crackdown on civil rights. We call for all decent European politicians to exercise their influence with immediate effect.

A brief selection of press clippings:

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/03/opinion/osman-kavala-erdogan-turkey.html

http://www.culturalfoundation.eu/library/ecf-arrest-of-osman-kavala-setback-for-cultural-collaborations

https://www.opendemocracy.net/anthony-barnett/osman-kavala-turkish-democracy-on-anvil

https://www.indexoncensorship.org/2017/11/osman-kavalas-arrest-new-low-turkeys-descent/