Turkey arrest NGO leader, who sought to reach out to Armenia

Turkish Police on Thursday detained a businessman who is one of the country’s leading civil society figures, reports said, raising fresh alarm over freedom of expression under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, AFP reports.

Osman Kavala was detained at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport after flying in from the southern city of Gaziantep, the Dogan news agency said.

Kavala is the chairman of the Anadolu Kultur (Anatolian Culture) NGO which aims to overcome differences within Turkish society especially through culture and the arts.

The organisation has also sought to reach out to Armenia.

Dogan news agency said Kavala had been in Gaziantep to discuss a project with Germany’s cultural outreach organisation the Goethe Institut.

It said he was detained in line with an investigation by Istanbul prosecutors, without giving further details.

Reports said Kavala was born in Paris but took over the family business when his father died. He is also the co-founder of the Iletisim publishing house.

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