Columbia University Faculty Urge the Turkish Government to Free Osman Kavala

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

As Columbia University faculty engaged in international scholarship and teaching, we are deeply concerned about the arrest of Osman Kavala, one of the most prominent Turkish public intellectuals and a tireless promoter of peaceful international collaboration.  Osman Kavala is a colleague and a friend of Columbia of many years.  Many of us have collaborated with him on various cultural projects, witnessing his generous leadership in bringing people and cultures together.  We have had many occasions to witness Osman Kavala’s important international reputation as well as his diligent and responsible efforts to represent Turkish culture abroad.  Among the causes he championed closely were the cultural activities of Anadolu Kültür, the Depo Cultural Center and Diyarbakır Arts Center and Columbia faculty and students have had the privilege to benefit from these wonderful institutions.  Osman Kavala has always displayed his commitment to tolerance and pluralism, to peace, democracy and rule of law.  Kavala’s belief that bringing people together to build peace and understanding through art and culture has been inspiring for our own work and for the education of our students.

Osman Kavala is widely admired nationally and internationally as a representative of the best in Turkish culture. We urge the Turkish government to free Osman Kavala immediately and to drop all charges against him.

Elazar Barkan
Director, Institute for the study of Human Rights
Marianne Hirsch
Director, Center for the Study of Social Difference
Jean Howard
Delacorte Professor of the Humanities
Andreas Huyssen
Villard Professor Emeritus of German and Comparative Literature
Rashid Khalidi
Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies and Literature and Professor of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies
Alisa Solomon
Professor of Journalism
Victoria de Grazia
Moore Collegiate Professor of History
Jack Snyder
Robert and Renée Belfer Professor of International Relations 
Tonya L. Putnam
Associate Professor, Department of Political Science
Sarah Cleveland
Louis Henkin Professor of Human and Constitutional Rights Law
Andrew Nathan
Class of 1919, Professor of Political Science
Elsa Stamatopoulou
Director, Ιndigenous Peoples' Rights Program,
Karen Van Dyck
Kimon A. Doukas Professor, Modern Greek Literature, Classics.
Joseph R. Slaughter
Associate Professor, Department of English and Comparative Literature
Holger A. Klein
Professor of Art History and Archaeology
Statement available in English and Turkish.