Call for the immediate release of Osman Kavala

We, the friends and supporters of Castrum Peregrini, are deeply concerned by the recent arrest of Osman Kavala. Kavala was detained on 18 October Istanbul’s Atatürk Airport upon returning from the southeastern city of Gaziantep. He has been held in detention ever since. No charges have so far been laid against him.

Osman Kavala is not just a friend of Castrum Peregrini but one of Turkey’s most important intellectual and cultural figures.  He has played a prominent part both in defending the rights and liberties of all in Turkey, and in bringing together people of different political viewpoints to discuss their differences and to work out a common language of civil debate. Nothing could be more important in Turkey – and in many other countries – today.

Osman Kavala has played an important role not just in encouraging discussion inside Turkey but also in presenting the complexities of Turkey to the outside world. His work has been invaluable in making many people outside the country understand and appreciate Turkey. His work should be celebrated, not condemned.

We call for the immediate release of Osman Kavala. We call also for the release of the many others – academics, journalists and public servants – who have also been arrested and detained in recent months in similar circumstances. We support the work of all those in Turkey striving to create a strong civil society in which political disagreements and disputes can be resolved through public discussion and mutual respect.


Avraham Burg, author and former speaker of the Knesset, Nataf, Israel

Frans Damman, Michael Defuster and Lars Ebert, Castrum Peregrini, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Adeola Enigbokan, artist and urbanist, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Quinsy Gario, artist and activist, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Kenan Malik, writer, lecturer and broadcaster, London, UK

Dominique Moïsi, political scientist, Paris, France

Wendelien van Oldenborgh, artist, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Diana Pinto, intellectual historian, Paris, France

Mirjam Shatanawi, cultural critic and curator, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Thijs Tromp, Secretary of the board, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Katherine Watson, director European Cultural Foundation, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Gloria Wekker, social and cultural anthropologist, Amsterdam, The Netherlands