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Turkey rejects US call to free jailed philanthropist Osman Kavala

Turkey on Thursday rejected a call by the United States to release jailed civil society leader and human rights activist Osman Kavala.

Turkey rebuffed on Feb. 11 a US call to free Osman Kavala, a Turkish businessman and philanthropist, saying the United States had no right to tell the Turkish judiciary how to conduct its affairs. But amid all the bluster, Ankara’s nerves are growing increasingly frayed in the face of the frosty tone espoused by the newly installed Joe Biden administration. A senior Turkish official told Al-Monitor, “We are feeling increasingly squeezed.” He declined to elaborate.

The State Department called the charges against Kavala “specious” in an unprompted and standalone Feb. 10 statement crafted to convey its seriousness. The statement referred to the European Court of Human Rights’ rulings calling for Kavala’s immediate release.

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