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.
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 organization has also sought to reach out to Armenia, with whom Turkey has no relations partly due to the dispute over the mass killings of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire.
Dogan news agency said Kavala had been in Gaziantep to discuss a project with Germany’s cultural outreach organization the Goethe Institut.
It said he was detained in line with an investigation by Istanbul prosecutors, without giving further details.