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US: Arrest of Osman Kavala is a “very alarming trend..” shows “erosion of democratic society”


US State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert, on Thursday, reacted to arrest of leading civil society leader Osman Kavala by saying that US sees it “very alarming trend”.

Anadolu Kültür Board Chair Osman Kavala has been detained at Atatürk Airport in İstanbul on Wednesday.

Spokesperson said, arrest of Kavala is “just another example, of a lot of things taking place, of respected civil society leaders, human rights defenders, journalists – we’ve all followed this story closely – academics, also activists detained in that [Turkey] country. The detentions are often made without – very little evidence, very little transparency, and we consider that to be a very alarming trend in that country.  We’ve expressed to the Turkish Government our concerns on many occasions about this trend – the trend of curbs on free speech, detentions, the overall erosion of democratic society there.  So it remains a major concern of ours.  We also believe that it – a detention such as his chills the public debate.  And when you chill the public debate and you prevent people from speaking freely and communicating freely, that that harms that society.  So it’s something we’re watching very closely and is a concern of ours.”

US: Substantial progress made in Ankara visa talks

US Spokesperson stated that deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs, Jonathan Cohen’s meeting in Ankara described as “productive” that they made “substantial progress in the overall agenda”. “We will remain engaged as a matter of priority to address the relevant issues with a view to restore normal visa procedures swiftly. So that’s good; that is some good progress.  We also talked about the composition and the terms of reference regarding the proposed joint working committee and agreed that the decision would be finalized soon.”

When asked, spokerperson said Turkish government still hasnt presented any evidence to US for arrests of 2 US Consulate workers.

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