Turkey’s former European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) judge has said that the legal cases of Osman Kavala and Selahattin Demirtaş has become a focal point in Turkey’s relations with the West and that the latter’s insistence on non compliance and wilful disregard of the ECHR rulings in these cases may lead to serious sanctions, even as serious as being expelled from the Council of Europe (CoE).
Rıza Türmen, also a former MP for the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), added that it was impossible to understand the Turkish administration’s great resistance against acting as a state with laws.
Human rights activist Kavala and former co-chair of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) Demirtaş are imprisoned in Turkey despite ECHR rulings that call for their immediate release.
“The ECHR has stated that the arrests contradict the law and have not been made on the basis of a justified suspicion.” Türmen said. “So the arrests constituted a violation of rights. But not only this. The ECHR also said that article 18 was violated in both cases, meaning that the arrests were politically motivated. So if the arrests were made with political motivations, it means that the judiciary is not independent. It means that the judiciary is taking its decisions according to instructions from the political administration.”
He noted that the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers have adopted seven resolutions after the ECHR rulings and non-compliance by Turkey.
“They urged Turkey to release them, to comply with its the obligations arising from the European Convention on Human Rights. They adopted seven resolutions. Despite these resolutions Turkey still insists on not releasing Kavala. The Kavala case has recently become the focal point in Turkey’s relations with the West.”
Türmen indicated that the procedures that may follow could include serious sanctions.
“What may be expected to happen next? Most probably the Committee of Ministers will start the violation procedure at its next meeting on 30 November. With a two thirds majority it will send the case to the ECHR and ask whether there is a violation also involved by Turkey’s non-compliance. Because non compliance with the court’s rulings is a whole new violation. If the ECHR says that there is a violation, the Committee of Ministers will really start putting the pressure on. They’ll start by sanctioning Turkey. And how far might it go? It may go all the way to expelling Turkey from the Council of Europe.”