Turkey rejects ruling on Demirtaş's release

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that Turkey must release the politician Selahattin Demirtaş from prison. The Erdoğan critic and former leader of the pro-Kurdish HDP has been behind bars for two years on charges of spreading terrorist propaganda. President Erdoğan, however, has roundly rejected the ruling. Will Ankara come under pressure now?

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Die Tageszeitung taz (DE) /

Brussels must react

The court in Strasbourg has lit the fuse on a political bomb in Turkey, taz is convinced:

“This is a major setback for Turkish President Erdoğan's policy of getting rid of political rivals by putting them in prison under the guise of anti-terrorism, and thus eliminating them from the political scene. ... Erdoğan immediately recognised the import of the Strasbourg ruling and declared it 'non-binding' for Turkey. ... Brussels must react to this. Clearly the signs of a softer stance that the Turkish government was sending to Europe are not worth much. In the political give and take between the EU and Turkey, the rejection of the Strasbourg ruling should play a key role.”

Sözcü (TR) /

ECHR ruling most certainly does concern Ankara

Erdoğan can't make things so easy for himself, Sözcü counters:

“The ECHR is not an EU body but a body of the Council of Europe. ... Turkey's membership of the Council of Europe means that it is party to the European Convention of Human Rights on which ECHR rulings are based. That means that the ECHR rulings are binding for Turkey. If they weren't, the Ministry of Justice wouldn't spend hundreds of thousands from its budget each year on compensation payments ordered by the ECHR for Turkish violations of rights. ... If Turkey doesn't implement the ECHR ruling on Demirtaş, can it remain in the Council of Europe, of which it is a founding member?”