Columbia University Faculty Urge the Turkish Government to Free Osman Kavala Immediately and to Drop All Charges Against Him

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