Statement on Mr. Osman Kavala

Mr. Osman Kavala, a key civil society figure, respected businessman and philanthropist in Turkey, has recently been detained in Istanbul and charged.

The Armenian Communities department of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation has been working with Osman Kavala and Anadolu Kültür – the NGO he founded – for several years. We share Osman’s vision that a strong civil society is one that is inclusive, in which many different communities engage in tolerant dialogue and fruitful cooperation. We have thus worked with Anadolu Kültür on publications related to minorities, numerous art exhibitions and concerts which highlighted Turkey’s cultural diversity. The result of our joint initiatives has been an increased understanding – within and outside Turkey – that different cultures and communities can co-exist, collaborate and create together.

The department will continue its work with Anadolu Kültür and Osman Kavala. Our current projects include a cultural heritage exhibition on the ancient city of Ani, as well as a documentary film underlining Istanbul’s historic diversity.

Gulbenkian Foundation, 7 December 2017