Turkey must release pro-Kurdish opposition leader, court rules

The European Court of Human Rights called on Turkey to release the imprisoned leader of a pro-Kurdish opposi...

Posted: Nov 21, 2018 6:51 PM
Updated: Nov 21, 2018 6:51 PM

The European Court of Human Rights called on Turkey to release the imprisoned leader of a pro-Kurdish opposition group Tuesday, ruling that detention was motivated by "stifling pluralism."

Selahattin Demirtas, the former co-chair of the People's Democratic Party (HDP), was first arrested in November 2016 for alleged links to the Kurdistan Workers party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and European Union. Demirtas was a member of the Turkish parliament at the time of his arrest.

Arrests

Continents and regions

Crime, law enforcement and corrections

Criminal law

Human rights

International relations and national security

Law and legal system

Law enforcement

Middle East

Middle East and North Africa

Political Figures - Intl

Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkey

European Union

Government organizations - Intl

Minority and ethnic groups

Society

The Kurds

National security

Terrorism

Terrorism and counter-terrorism

Unrest, conflicts and war

The 45-year-old former human rights lawyer faces a series of terrorism-related charges and a combined sentence of 183 years if found guilty.

Demirtas has consistently denied all charges.

On Tuesday, the ECHR said that it had accepted that Demirtas had been arrested and detained on "reasonable suspicion" of having committed a criminal offense but the grounds on which Turkey has extended his pretrial detention are not "sufficient."

Citing a "tense political climate" in Turkey that has "created an environment capable of influencing certain decisions by the national courts," the ECHR said that judicial authorities had "reacted harshly" to Demirtas' conduct because of his position as an opposition leader and a dissenting voice.

More than two years after a failed coup attempt aimed at unseating President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, authorities continue to detain and arrest people who, they say, are linked to the attempted uprising -- including members of Demirtas' party, the HDP.

Throughout his two-year imprisonment, Demirtas has continued to galvanize supporters and even opposed Erdogan in this year's presidential race. The HDP took more than 10% of the vote in the June 2018 election, enough for the party to enter parliament for another term.

Erdogan's presidential win, combined with a narrowly won constitutional referendum in 2017, gave him sweeping new powers that include wide-ranging executive authority -- authority that his critics say is a blatant power grab that threatens the independence of the judiciary.

Speaking to those campaigns, the ECHR said that it was "beyond reasonable doubt" that Demirtas' detention "had pursued the predominant ulterior purpose of stifling pluralism and limiting freedom of political debate, which was at the very core of the concept of a democratic society."

The ruling says that Turkey is to pay Demirtas 25,000 euros (approximately $28,469) in costs and damages.

In a speech on Wednesday, Erdogan accused the ECHR of not being objective and questioned its authority.

"No matter where you go in Europe today, while supporters of terrorist organizations roam free, the citizens who love our country are being suffocated," Erdogan said, referencing the supporters of Fethullah Gulen, the US-based, reclusive cleric accused by Turkey of hatching the 2016 military coup attempt.

"Are you following this ECHR? Do you have a ruling on these? No country or institution that praises Gulenists has the right to speak of democracy. This isn't seeking justice, it's simply terror-loving," Erdogan said.

On Tuesday, Erdogan told reporters in Ankara's parliament that "ECHR decisions are not binding for us," according to state-run Anadolu news agency.

"There are several decisions that they took related to terror organizations. They are all unfavorable (to us)," Erdogan added, saying that it was up to Turkey to decide how to deal with terror-related cases.

"We'll make our counter-move and finish it off. It is not ECHR that put down terror in Turkey. Terror lasted. And it is still going on. It is the Turkish people that pays the price," he said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 30674

Reported Deaths: 1107
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds248039
DeSoto157216
Madison129634
Jones112049
Neshoba98571
Rankin91612
Lauderdale90879
Harrison88610
Forrest86042
Scott77015
Jackson61616
Copiah60216
Washington5789
Leake57519
Holmes55141
Lee54718
Wayne54213
Oktibbeha54126
Warren51118
Yazoo5056
Leflore48651
Lowndes48312
Grenada4795
Lamar4567
Lincoln45434
Pike43112
Monroe39930
Lafayette3894
Sunflower3737
Attala35923
Covington3475
Panola3456
Newton3399
Bolivar33414
Adams31018
Simpson3103
Pontotoc2836
Tate27810
Chickasaw27618
Marion27511
Claiborne27010
Jasper2616
Noxubee2618
Winston2596
Pearl River25432
Clay24910
Marshall2263
Smith22011
Union2079
Clarke20624
Walthall2004
Coahoma1996
Kemper17814
Lawrence1741
Yalobusha1717
Carroll16411
Humphreys1479
Tallahatchie1364
Itawamba1358
Montgomery1312
Tippah13011
Calhoun1294
Hancock12613
Webster12510
Jefferson Davis1114
Prentiss1083
Jefferson1073
Greene1058
Tunica1003
Wilkinson949
Amite892
George863
Tishomingo781
Quitman760
Choctaw744
Alcorn682
Perry664
Stone641
Franklin452
Sharkey350
Benton340
Issaquena91
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 41362

Reported Deaths: 983
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4944152
Montgomery4021103
Mobile4005134
Tuscaloosa222642
Marshall170210
Lee135937
Madison13597
Shelby122723
Morgan10715
Walker91424
Elmore90314
Franklin88914
Dallas8799
Baldwin8469
Etowah72713
DeKalb7075
Butler62428
Chambers62427
Tallapoosa58869
Autauga58312
Russell5450
Unassigned50323
Lauderdale4896
Limestone4810
Houston4794
Lowndes46721
Cullman4394
Pike4205
Colbert3916
Coffee3732
Bullock36810
St. Clair3662
Covington3547
Barbour3472
Escambia3376
Calhoun3325
Hale31021
Talladega3037
Marengo30211
Wilcox2908
Sumter28412
Dale2820
Clarke2736
Jackson2682
Winston2543
Chilton2392
Monroe2342
Blount2301
Pickens2276
Marion21913
Conecuh2047
Randolph2009
Choctaw19512
Bibb1871
Macon1859
Greene1838
Perry1701
Henry1323
Crenshaw1253
Lawrence1070
Washington1057
Cherokee857
Geneva790
Lamar751
Fayette681
Clay642
Coosa581
Cleburne361
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Broken Clouds
76° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 76°
Columbus
Few Clouds
73° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 73°
Oxford
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 88° Lo: 67°
Feels Like: 73°
Starkville
Clear
73° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 73°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather