Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan has recently claimed that the case of philanthropist Osman Kavala, along with that of Selahattin Demirtaş, has been unjustly politicised in Europe, leading to inevitable political reactions within Turkey. The legal team representing Kavala, who has been imprisoned for over six years and given an aggravated life sentence in the Gezi Park affair, has countered the remarks of Fidan, arguing that Turkey should adhere to international legal obligations, irrespective of perceived politicisation.
Fidan stated that the cases involving Osman Kavala, and by extension similar cases, had been politicised in European capitals even before reaching Turkish courts. He argued that these cases had shifted from legal and technical issues to become part of Turkey’s internal political conflict. Consequently, Fidan implied that there is no wrongdoing in this approach and suggested that when cases are politicised externally, Turkey’s response is understandably political.
Lawyers Köksal Bayraktar and Deniz Tolga Aytöre, addressing Fidan’s comments made at the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) Planning and Budget Committee meeting, refuted the idea that Europe had unjustly politicised the case. They emphasised that Turkey’s response should be dictated by its international legal obligations, irrespective of the case’s perceived politicisation.
The lawyers highlighted the Council of Europe’s (CoE) expectation for Turkey, as a member, to fulfil its commitments under the Convention and Article 90 of its constitution and warned that non-compliance with ECHR rulings could risk Turkey’s CoE membership. They contended that these expectations, emanating from the ECHR and relevant bodies within the CoE, do not politicise the case but underscore the enforcement of an international court’s decision. They asserted Turkey’s duty to implement this verdict in accordance with the Convention.
During the aforementioned committee discussion on the Foreign Affairs Ministry budget, opposition MPs from the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Peoples’ Equality and Democracy Party (HEDEP) voiced concerns that Turkey’s defiance of ECHR rulings on Kavala and former Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş might lead to its removal from the CoE. Fidan defended Turkey’s position, claiming that these cases, particularly Kavala’s, were politicised even before court proceedings, thereby becoming part of Turkey’s internal political contest.