Turkish philanthropist Kavala gives final defense in protest trial

Turkish philanthropist Kavala gives final defense in protest trial
Osman Kavala stands accused of financing a wave of 2013 anti-government protests and playing a role in a failed but bloody coup attempt against President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2016. (AFP)
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Updated 22 April 2022

Turkish philanthropist Kavala gives final defense in protest trial

Turkish philanthropist Kavala gives final defense in protest trial
  • Prosecutor Edip Sahiner has said Kavala and architect Mucella Yapici should be convicted of attempting to overthrow the government through violence
  • Speaking to the court via video link from prison, Kavala said: "It is evident that those who issued the indictment did not feel constrained by laws"

ISTANBUL: Turkish philanthropist Osman Kavala and seven other accused delivered their final defense statements on Friday in a long-running case over nationwide protests held in 2013 that has strained Ankara’s ties with its Western allies.
Kavala, 64, has been in jail for 4-1/2 years without a conviction and denies the charges he and 15 others face over the Gezi protests, which began as small demonstrations in an Istanbul park and snowballed into nationwide anti-government unrest, in which eight protesters were killed.
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and activists say the case is politically motivated and symbolic of a crackdown on dissent under President Tayyip Erdogan’s rule, claims the government denies.
The court had previously been expected to reach a verdict on Friday, but it was unclear whether that would happen or the hearing would be adjourned until Monday, given that statements remain to be given by defense lawyers.
Prosecutor Edip Sahiner has said Kavala and architect Mucella Yapici should be convicted of attempting to overthrow the government through violence, which would carry a sentence of up to life in prison without parole.
Speaking to the court via video link from prison, Kavala said: “It is evident that those who issued the indictment did not feel constrained by laws, considering that they will receive political support as they intended to prolong my detention.”
The courtroom was packed with some 200 people, including opposition members, rights groups and Western diplomats.

COUNCIL OF EUROPE
Prosecutor Sahiner has said six others should be sentenced for aiding Kavala and Yapici, while asking that the case against the eight other defendants be separated.
Kavala and another defendant, whose case the prosecutor also said should be separated, are also accused of involvement in a coup attempt in 2016, which the ECHR said also lacks evidence.
The ECHR called for Kavala’s release in late 2019 and ruled his detention served to silence a philanthropist whose civil society projects aimed to foster social change.
But Turkish courts have not freed Kavala, and Ankara faces being suspended from the Council of Europe rights watchdog, after “infringement proceedings” were launched due to his continued detention.
Embassies of Turkey’s Western allies, including the United States and Germany, echoed the call for Kavala’s release last year, prompting threats by Erdogan to expel their ambassadors.
Erdogan equates the Gezi protesters with Kurdish militants and those accused of orchestrating a failed 2016 coup and has targeted Kavala personally, saying Western allies would not release “bandits, murderers and terrorists” in their countries.
Kavala was acquitted in 2020 of charges related to the Gezi protests. Hours later another court ordered his arrest on a charge of attempting to overthrow the constitutional order related to the coup attempt.
That court later ruled to release him on that charge but ordered his detention on an espionage charge in the same case, a move critics said was aimed at circumventing the ECHR ruling.
Kavala’s acquittal along with eight others in the Gezi trial was overturned last year and the case was combined with the other charges against him.


UK-Egypt Association Council inaugurated in London

UK-Egypt Association Council inaugurated in London
The two sides issued a joint statement following the launch. (Shutterstock)
Updated 06 July 2022

UK-Egypt Association Council inaugurated in London

UK-Egypt Association Council inaugurated in London
  • Foreign ministers discuss areas of cooperation, including investment and addressing climate change

CAIRO: Egyptian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry, and the UK’s minister of foreign and commonwealth affairs and development, Liz Truss, inaugurated the UK-Egypt Association Council in London.

The two sides issued a joint statement following the launch, stressing it created a new platform to promote the ambitions expressed in the agreement between the UK and Egypt, signed in December 2020.

The statement revealed that the two ministers held talks on developing the strategic partnership between their countries, and welcomed a number of commercial successes between them, including the project to manufacture monorail linear trains in the English city of Derby with the support of the British Export Finance Corp.

This comes in addition to the sale of two marine supply units that belonged to the Royal Navy to Egypt, including contracts for renewal and development.

The statement added that the cooperation included the opening of a new solar energy field with a capacity of 66 megawatts by Globeleq, with an investment of $80 million; the launch of commercial operations by Lekela Wind Energy, with an investment of $325 million; and the approval of an investment of $100 million by British International Investment to acquire Alpha Medical Group.

The two ministers also discussed prospects for enhancing economic cooperation between the UK and Egypt, and agreed to work intensively to develop bilateral trade and investment, including addressing any obstacles to trade, and working to improve market access in the agricultural, healthcare, energy and financial sectors through the establishment of a trade subcommittee. 

The Egyptian and UK governments also affirmed their commitment to enhancing bilateral cooperation and investments in healthcare and education, and welcomed the deepening of their technical cooperation, which will support joint work to overcome barriers to market access in priority sectors.

Future cooperation includes the signing of a declaration of intent between the Egyptian Electric Utility and Consumer Protection Regulatory Agency and the British Gas and Electricity Markets Authority, to help reform Egyptian legislation on renewable energy.

The two ministers welcomed the strengthening of cooperation in Africa and the discovery of tripartite cooperation opportunities with African countries in various fields, especially infrastructure.

The UK welcomed Egypt’s preparations to host COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh in November, stressing its desire to build on the Glasgow Climate Charter and previous UN climate change goals. 

Egypt and the UK both stressed the importance of supporting developing peoples in achieving a fair transition towards sustainable development patterns that are environmentally friendly and compatible with efforts to combat climate change, including the transition towards sustainable energy and green hydrogen, in addition to adapting to the effects of climate change, through the sustainable and integrated management of natural resources, enhancing resilience and building technical and technological capacities.

The two ministers also discussed a large number of bilateral, regional and global issues of common interest, including human rights, mentioning their desire to hold meetings of the Association Council regularly to continue strengthening cooperation between London and Cairo.

The UK commended Egypt for its leadership and efforts in the field of renewable energy generation and for providing opportunities for British investors and companies in the energy sector.


Egyptian, Cypriot presidents hold talks

Egyptian, Cypriot presidents hold talks
Updated 06 July 2022

Egyptian, Cypriot presidents hold talks

Egyptian, Cypriot presidents hold talks

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi received a phone call from his Cypriot counterpart Nicos Anastasiades to discuss regional issues of common interest and ways to enhance bilateral relations.

El-Sisi affirmed Egypt’s “pride” in the “distinguished cooperation” with Cyprus, “and the positive development it is witnessing.”

He stressed Egypt’s aspiration to promote various aspects of that cooperation — especially in the security, military, energy and economic levels — in a way that contributes to achieving the interests of the two friendly peoples.

They also discussed ways of coordinating efforts with Egypt as a leading partner of the EU in terms of combating terrorism, extremist ideology and illegal immigration.


El-Sisi seeks enhanced Cairo cooperation with UAE

El-Sisi seeks enhanced Cairo cooperation with UAE
Updated 06 July 2022

El-Sisi seeks enhanced Cairo cooperation with UAE

El-Sisi seeks enhanced Cairo cooperation with UAE

CAIRO: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi expressed Cairo’s aspirations to enhance cooperation with the UAE, citing plans for increased investments in information technology, energy and communications.

El-Sisi’s statement came after he received the UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology Sultan Al-Jaber in the presence of a number of officials from the two countries.

A spokesman for the Egyptian presidency said the meeting covered several areas for raising investments between Egypt and the UAE.

The Egyptian presidential spokesman said that El-Sisi conveyed his greetings to the President of the UAE Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, welcoming the increase in Emirati investments in Egypt to consolidate the strong brotherly relations between the two countries.

Al-Jaber conveyed to El-Sisi the greetings of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, praising the attractive investment and commercial climate in Egypt in light of the comprehensive development process the country is witnessing under the leadership of El-Sisi, which he said provides various opportunities for Emirati and foreign investments in the region.

The Emirati minister added that the UAE is keen to strengthen strategic cooperation frameworks between the two countries.


Sudan’s Burhan relieves civilian members of the sovereign council from duties

Sudan’s Burhan relieves civilian members of the sovereign council from duties
Updated 06 July 2022

Sudan’s Burhan relieves civilian members of the sovereign council from duties

Sudan’s Burhan relieves civilian members of the sovereign council from duties
  • Army would not participate in internationally led dialogue efforts to break its stalemate with the civilian opposition

CAIRO: Sudan’s military leader General Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan issued a decree relieving the five civilian members of the sovereign council from their duties, a statement on the council’s telegram account said on Wednesday.
Burhan said on Monday the army would not participate in internationally led dialogue efforts to break its stalemate with the civilian opposition, and urged political and revolutionary groups to start talks to form a transitional government.


Palestinian killed during Israeli raid in West Bank

Palestinian killed during Israeli raid in West Bank
Updated 06 July 2022

Palestinian killed during Israeli raid in West Bank

Palestinian killed during Israeli raid in West Bank
  • At least 50 Palestinians have been killed since late March, mostly in the West Bank

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories: A Palestinian man was killed by the Israeli military during a raid in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, the Palestinian health ministry said.
Rafiq Riyad Ghannem, 20, was “shot by the occupation (Israeli army)” near the northern West Bank city of Jenin, the ministry said in a statement, adding that he was killed in the town of Jaba.
The Israeli military did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
On Sunday, a 17-year-old Palestinian died after being shot a day earlier in another Israeli army raid in the same town.
At least 50 Palestinians have been killed since late March, mostly in the West Bank, among them suspected militants and non-combatants.
Israeli security forces have launched near-daily raids in the West Bank following a spate of attacks in Israel in recent months.
Nineteen people — mostly Israeli civilians inside Israel — have been killed mainly in attacks carried out by Palestinians and Israeli Arabs. Three Arab Israeli attackers have also been killed.