Tayfun Kahraman was the Chairman of the Chamber of City Planners at the time when the Gezi protests broke out. He played an active role within the Taksim Solidarity. He was the person who announced to the public the demands of Taksim Solidarity on their behalf following the meeting with Bülent Arınç, the Deputy Prime Minister at the time, on June 5th, 2013. Later, he was present at the meeting with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan - Prime Minister at the time. Kahraman received a prison sentence of 18 years for “aiding the attempt to overthrow the government”. He is currently detained at the Silivri Prison despite his ongoing judicial process.
After graduating from the Department of Urban Planning at Mimar Sinan University, Tayfun Kahraman received his master’s degree in urban planning from the same university and his PhD in Political Science and Public Administration from the Faculty of Political Sciences at Istanbul University.
He acted as member secretary for two terms at the Board of the Chamber of City Planners Istanbul Branch during 2006-2010. He later acted as its chairman during 2010-2019. Between 2009-2014, he worked as an expert in the Conservation District Council of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
He is also an assistant professor at the Department of Urban and Regional Planning of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University where he has worked since 2014. Following the last local elections in 2009, he was appointed the Head of the Department of Earthquake Risk Management at the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.
In his book titled “İstisna Mekȃn: Hukukun Eşiğindeki Kent” (Space of Exception: City on the Edge of Law) published in 2021, Kahraman tries to understand the city through exceptions and proposes a conceptual schema to be used in urban studies by conceptualizing the space of exception.
When the Gezi protests broke out in May of 2013, Tayfun Kahraman was the Chairman of the Board of the Chamber of City Planners Istanbul Branch. He played an active role in the Taksim Solidarity. He was the person who announced to the public the demands of Taksim Solidarity on their behalf following the meeting with Bülent Arınç, the Deputy Prime Minister at the time. Later, he was present at the meeting with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan - Prime Minister at the time.
Five years after the protests, in November of 2018, Tayfun Kahraman was called in for questioning by the Istanbul Police Organized Crime Department along with Can Atalay as a part of the Gezi investigation.
The Gezi Trial investigation - which included evidence collected by prosecutor Muammer Akkaş wanted for Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) / Democratic Union Party of Syria (PYD) membership - ended in 2019. On February 19th, 2019, the Istanbul Public Prosecutor’s Office announced that the indictment filed after the investigation of the Gezi Park protests was sent to the 30th High Criminal Court of Istanbul. On March 4th, 2019, the 30th High Criminal Court of Istanbul accepted the indictment it had received. In the 657-page-long indictment, 16 people including businessperson Osman Kavala - imprisoned since November 1st, 2017 - and four others detained - one later arrested - on November 2018 (Çiğdem Mater Utku, Ali Hakan Altınay, Yiğit Aksakoğlu, Yiğit Ali Ekmekçi) were asked to serve aggravated life sentences on the allegations of “attempting to overthrow the Turkish Republic Government and to partly or wholly prevent the government from performing its duties.”
The first hearing of the trial took place at the 30th High Criminal Court of Istanbul on the 24th and 25th of June 2019. In the hearing where nine defendants plead their case, the court ruled for the discharge of Yiğit Aksakoğlu on the condition of judicial control, and the continued arrest of Osman Kavala.
The Prosecutor’s opinion announced on February 6th, 2020, demanded:
- To differentiate from the file the prosecution of Ayşe Pınar Alabora, Can Dündar, Gökçe Yılmaz, Handan Meltem Arıkan, Hanzade Hikmet Germiyanoğlu, Memet Ali Alabora and İnanç Ekmekçi and wait for the execution of their warrant for arrest,
- To penalize Osman Kavala, Yiğit Aksakoğlu, and Mücella Yapıcı for the crime of “attempting to overthrow the Turkish Republic Government and to partly or wholly prevent the government from performing its duties by using force and violence” per article 312 of the Turkish Penal Code (KCK),
- To penalize Çiğdem Mater, Ali Hakan Altınay, Mine Özerden, Can Atalay, Tayfun Kahraman, and Yiğit Ali Ekmekçi under article 39 of the Turkish Penal Code (KCK) for acting as aids in “the attempt to overthrow the Turkish Republic Government and to partly or wholly prevent the government from performing its duties by using force and violence” per article 312 of the Turkish Penal Code (KCK).
Eight defendants including Osman Kavala were acquitted on the 6th hearing of the trial which took place on February 18th, 2020.
On January 22nd, 2021, the 3rd Criminal Division of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice revoked the verdict of acquittal from the Gezi Trial. The Division ruled to deliver the case file to the court of first instance for re-examination and ruling. It was decided that the trial should continue with the procurement of missing evidence. The 36th High Criminal Court of Istanbul that had tried Kavala made the verdict to join the Gezi Trial with the case filed for the crimes of “attempting to remove constitutional order” and “political and military espionage”, in the hearing that took place on February 5th, 2021.
There was another decision to merge trials on April 28th, 2021. The 30th High Criminal Court of Istanbul ruled to rejoin the main case file which included Osman Kavala’s trial with the cases kept separate “because they were abroad” of Can Dündar, Memet Ali Alabora, Ayşe Pınar Alabora, Gökçe Tüylüoğlu, Handan Meltem Arıkan, Hanzade Hikmet Germiyanoğlu and İnanç Ekmekçi on the allegations of “attempting to overthrow the government.”
On July 28th, 2021, the 16th Criminal Division of the Supreme Court revoked the acquittal of 35 defendants including the members of the Beşiktaş Football Club’s supporter group Çarşı. It was approved to join the case in which these defendants were tried for the Gezi protests with the main Gezi Park trial. The Supreme Court wanted to merge the two cases.
The fifth hearing of the trial took place on February 21st, 2022. The court ruled for the separation of the case files and the continuation of Kavala’s arrest.
On March 4th, 2022, the prosecutor for the hearing demanded aggravated life imprisonment for defendant Osman Kavala on remand, and defendant Mücella Yapıcı pending trial, based on the accusation of “attempting to overthrow the Turkish Republic Government by using force and violence.” Defendants Çiğdem Mater Utku, Ali Hakan Altınay, Mine Özerden, Can Atalay, Tayfun Kahraman, and Yiğit Ali Ekmekçi were asked to receive 15 to 20 years in prison each for “aiding the attempt to overthrow the Turkish Republic Government by using force and violence.”
The sentencing hearing of the trial took place on the 22nd and 25th of April 2022. The court ruled that Osman Kavala serve aggravated life imprisonment without parole on the allegations of attempting to overthrow the government (Turkish Penal Code 312) and that Çiğdem Mater, Mücella Yapıcı, Hakan Altınay, Mine Özerden, Tayfun Kahraman, Can Atalay, and Yiğit Ali Ekmekçi be taken under arrest and serve 18 years in prison each for aiding the attempt to overthrow the government. Along with Kahraman, Altınay, Yapıcı, Mater, Özerden, and Atalay were arrested that day. Tayfun Kahraman is currently detained at the Silivri Prison.
The 3rd Penal Chamber of the Istanbul Regional Court of Justice upheld the 18-year prison sentence given to Kahraman on 28 December 2022, announcing that it found it appropriate.