Türkiye criticizes CoE’s Kavala decision

Türkiye criticizes CoE’s Kavala decision

Türkiye criticizes CoE’s Kavala decision

Ankara on Monday criticized a decision of Europe’s top rights court that said Türkiye had not complied with a ruling that called for the release of philanthropist Osman Kavala and moving further in the process could lead to Ankara’s suspension from the Council of Europe (CoE).

On Feb 2. the Turkish Foreign Ministry made its views public about the decision by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe that the issue of execution of the Kavala judgment be referred to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç said on July 11.

“In that statement, our expectation that the ECHR assesses the matter on a fair basis and not act as a first instance court was expressed,” his statement said.

Türkiye’s communication with the CoE continued throughout the process, and information has been provided on a regular basis by the Turkish Justice Ministry on the developments in the judicial proceedings in respect of the applicant, the spokesperson said.

Moreover, regarding Kavala’s detention, the ECHR and the CoE Committee of Ministers were also notified about the conviction of the applicant as a result of the domestic proceedings, he added.

“However, the ECHR has unfortunately failed to meet our expectations by the decision announced today [July 11, 2022] and once again called into question the credibility of the European human rights system,” he said.

“We expect from the CoE Committee of Ministers, which will follow the process during the next stage, that it sets aside its previous biased and selective approach, acts in common sense and avoid certain circles’ efforts to politicize the matter,” Bilgiç noted.

A heavy panel court in Istanbul sentenced Kavala to life imprisonment on April 25 on charges of trying to overthrow the government by supporting the Gezi protests and playing a role in the 2016 coup attempt. Seven other defendants were sentenced to 18 years in prison over the same charges.

Kavala was first arrested on criminal charges related to the 2013 Gezi protests when small protests in Istanbul spread into nationwide demonstrations, leaving eight protesters and a police officer dead.

The ECHR had called on Türkiye to immediately release Kavala. The CoE launched the infringement procedure against Türkiye after it did not comply with the European court’s ruling on Kavala.