Ayşe Semiha Baban wrote a letter to Osman Kavala who is now in prison. The letter by Baban was published in the newspaper Cumhuriyet on December 17, 2017. Below is the translation of the original text*:

*Thanks to Nazım Dikbaş for the translation and Cemal Taş for his contributions. 

Dear Osman,

The moment I decided to start my letter by saying, “terribly sorry to hear what happened,” I thought I heard your response: “Things will definitely work out, don’t worry, and what’s more, there are people in a much worse state than mine”. I envied you, and also felt concerned a little - thinking that such a strong sense of responsibility was too much for the 21st century - as you always, graciously, tried to solve everyone’s problems, strived to correct injustices and help peace and love prevail. After all, I act in the spirit of an elder sister when it comes to you, since I first got to know you as the younger son of Necla Kavala, my mother’s friend whom I admire so much.

Over the past thirty-five years, our paths have crossed many times both in the world of business and at civilian society organizations. With your infinite attention not to offend someone or hurt their feelings, with the support you have shown to others without ever saying “I know better”, and your ability to disappear, despite being so tall, when the time comes to admire and applaud you, you are a very special person.

Now, many children hope to be able to play and find a warm atmosphere of love that will help them forget the pain of the world they have left behind. Again, there are many who wish to visit valuable art events, an environment where their creativity will find an abundant outlet in the midst of all the oppression and destruction. And still many wish to transform hatred into shared pain and violence in to dialogue, in order to live... You put in such an effort to realize all this.

To humanely live together without honing fear and antagonism, to find trust and love in the faces of children, instead of despair: we badly miss your unprejudiced, self-sacrificing, committed and modest approach and persevering, untiring efforts for many such yearnings of ours; in brief, we badly miss you.

You are a magnificent example of a citizen assuming responsibility by embracing creativity, beauty, solidarity, friendship and peace, and of the benefit of approaching life with not a critical but constructive outlook. Now I feel that you are still concerned more for those who you stand with, rather than yourself.

Let’s then lend an ear to Aşık Hüseyin:

Lest adversity strike in the present age

Not a single faithful friend is to be found

God forbid me calling that backstabber a friend

He who fails in need, he who is nowhere to be seen


You have many friends who are eagerly looking forward to your return, Osman. Besides, do not forget, this is how Aşık Hüseyin ends his words:

The world they call it, and everything passes

Has there ever been a day when evening hasn’t set in


So, I’ll hopefully be seeing you soon, and I send you my love and regards.

Ayşe Semiha Baban, 17 December 2017