TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - The Gezi demonstrations in the summer of 2013 started as a protest against the redevelopment of a park in Istanbul, a city with limited green space, and quickly spread across the country.
Erdogan at the time dismissed the idea that the protests were environmentally motivated, saying they aimed to topple his government. The defendants deny the charges against them.
Kavala launched his defense on Monday in the court in Silivri, a town west of Istanbul and the site of Turkey's largest prison, where he has been held on remand since 2017.
"The accusation for which I have been imprisoned for the past 20 months is based on a series of claims that have no factual basis and defy logic," Kavala told the court.
The huge courtroom was packed with about 100 lawyers, along with MPs and supporters of the defendants, who clapped and shouted as Kavala was led out of the room after the morning session. Riot police stood outside.
The indictment calls for life sentences without parole for the defendants, who are accused of attempting to overthrow the government and financing the protests among other charges.