(Bloomberg) -- An Istanbul court acquitted prominent businessman Osman Kavala of charges of plotting to overthrow the government during mass protests that shook the country in 2013.
Nine defendants were cleared, and arrest warrants for others living abroad have been rescinded. Others accused in the case include actor Mehmet Ali Alabora and journalist Can Dundar, who have both left the country.
Kavala spent two years in jail while his case was tried. He was the only defendant to be incarcerated.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has alleged that Kavala was the “local collaborator” of a foreign conspiracy led by billionaire George Soros to divide Turkey by backing the demonstrations against a planned development in Istanbul’s Gezi Park.
The protests quickly morphed into the biggest challenge to the rule of Erdogan, then a powerful prime minister.
--With assistance from Ercan Ersoy.
To contact the reporter on this story: Fercan Yalinkilic in Istanbul at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Onur Ant at email@example.com, Amy Teibel, Mark Williams
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