Middle East

Turkish police detain academics in probe of prominent rights activist: media


ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Turkish police detained six people including two academics on Friday as part of an investigation into prominent rights activist and businessman Osman Kavala, the Haberturk newspaper reported.

Kavala was detained in October last year and subsequently jailed pending trial, accused of seeking to overthrow the government as part of an investigation into the network which Ankara accuses of carrying out a 2016 failed coup.

The two academics were named as Professor Turgut Tarhanli of Istanbul Bilgi University and Professor Betul Tanbay of Bogazici University. The other four detainees were staff of Kavala’s Anadolu Kultur organization, which is involved in promoting culture and rights.

In a statement marking one year since he was remanded in custody, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch renewed calls at the end of October for Kavala’s immediate and unconditional release.

No indictment outlining the precise charges against him had so far been issued by prosecutors, their statement said.

Since the attempted putsch in July 2016, Turkey has jailed 77,000 people as they face trial, as well as suspending or dismissing 150,000 civil servants and military personnel and shuting down dozens of media outlets.

Reporting by Daren Butler; Editing by David Dolan.

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