Re-arrest after acquittal in Gezi Park trial

The sense of relief was not long-lived: on Tuesday Osman Kavala and eight others were acquitted in the Gezi Park trial, but only a few hours later Kavala was re-arrested, this time in connection with the attempted coup in 2016 according to the state news agency. Europe's commentators are dismayed.

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Public prosecutors exposing themselves to ridicule

Christian Buttkereit, Istanbul correspondent for German broadcaster ARD, explains the background to Kavala's arrest on

“In December, the European Court of Human Rights demanded Kavala's immediate release from what was already two years of pre-trial detention. The judgement was to become final on 10 March. With the decision in the Gezi Park trial this is no longer valid. In the event of a new remand in custody for a different reason, the countdown starts all over again. Turkey has thus formally complied with the Strasbourg ruling. With this manoeuvre the Istanbul public prosecutor's office, or whoever is behind its actions, is exposing itself to ridicule. And not only that; it is also damaging Turkey's reputation.”

Karar (TR) /

Citizens defenceless against abuse of power

Such legal tricks are only possible because state officials let themselves be used for this purpose, Karar complains:

“Our laws forbid abuse of authority. It is a punishable crime. The ban also applies to judges, public prosecutors and police officers. ... But again and again law enforcement officers are being protected at the expense of citizens, and those who abuse their office go unpunished, which means that this behaviour goes on and on. The people are defenceless and have no protection against officials who exceed their authority and allow themselves to be instrumentalised in the interests of lawlessness. They are often even barred from taking legal action. The powerful can afford not to care about all this.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Erdoğan's wish is courts' command

More and more abysses are opening up in Turkey, Dagens Nyheter observes:

“Erdoğan has taken control of the justice system, and Kavala's acquittal didn't fit into the plan. In December the demand of the European Court of Justice for his immediate release was ignored. Tens of thousands of officials have been dismissed or imprisoned in the last four years. Many members of the Kurdish HDP are behind bars. The state has confiscated media companies or had them taken over by friends of the president. A new constitution has made him almost the sole ruler. It's illegal to 'insult' him. The authoritarian government is destroying the remains of democracy in Turkey day by day. Erdoğan's will takes precedence over justice.”