Six civil society organizations active in the fields of culture and media in Germany have criticized the series broadcasted on TRT’s digital platform about cultural supporter and human rights activist Osman Kavala, stating that it “discredits and belittles Kavala.” DW reported.
The joint statement, issued by the Turkey-Germany Cultural Forum, International PEN, PEN Germany Center, PEN Berlin, Academy of Fine Arts, and Reporters Without Borders, expressed “serious concerns” about the series that portrays Osman Kavala, who has been sentenced to aggravated life imprisonment in the Gezi trial.
The statement emphasized the “serious concerns regarding a series that discredits and belittles Osman Kavala, a cultural supporter and intellectual, being broadcasted on TRT’s digital platform, which is the state’s broadcasting institution.”
The statement further stated that the series includes false information and defamation about Kavala, despite the fact that he has been unjustly sentenced to aggravated solitary confinement in Turkey on fabricated accusations since April 25, 2022. It was also highlighted that this decision has not been finalized, and it has been condemned by the international community, including Germany. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has repeatedly called on the Turkish government to immediately release Osman Kavala and other political prisoners such as Selahattin Demirtaş.
The statement called on the European Union (EU), the German government, the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and all relevant authorities and institutions to express their concerns about this unacceptable behavior and propaganda.
The joint statement stated, “This series that defames and belittles Osman Kavala, portraying him as an enemy of the state, is a new and alarming move that goes beyond the humanitarian and legal principles of the AKP government.” It also reminded that TRT, which reaches a large Turkish-speaking community in Germany, has a responsibility to uphold the truth, impartiality, and protection of human rights.
The joint statement from the six organizations stated that the series aims to incite the Turkish community against Kavala and emphasized that “this broadcast is a violation of journalistic ethics and the fundamental rights of prisoners.”
Kavala had also reacted Kavala, who has been detained for over six years, had also expressed his reaction to the broadcast.
In his written statement regarding the issue, Kavala stated, “They resorted to deception in order to evade the laws that protect individual reputation and did not explicitly use my name. It is understood that, just like the indictments used to keep me unlawfully in prison, the real events are distorted in this series, and it is intended to create the perception that I am guilty through conspiracy theories… It did not surprise me that public resources were used for this purpose. What surprised and saddened me is that young artists did not feel uncomfortable being part of this assassination of reputation project.”
What is the series about? The series called “Metamorfoz” tells the story of a character named Teoman Bayramlı, who undergoes a transformation after taking over the family businesses following his father’s death. Teoman Bayramlı experiences a major change after entering the unfamiliar business world and turns into a capitalist involved in dirty and dark deeds.
Osman Kavala had also taken over the family businesses after the death of his father, Mehmet Kavala, in 1982.
ECHR: Detained without reasonable suspicion In its initial ruling announced on December 10, 2019, the ECHR concluded that Kavala was “arrested without reasonable suspicion and with the purpose of silencing his human rights activities” and stated that the measures taken against him had “a hidden agenda beyond reasonable suspicion,” ordering his immediate release.
The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, which found that Kavala had not been released in accordance with the aforementioned decision, brought the issue back to the attention of the ECHR, and in its Grand Chamber judgment dated July 11, 2022, the ECHR concluded that Turkey failed to fulfill its obligations arising from Article 46 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), which requires compliance with the December 10, 2019 Kavala ruling.