Duvar English - Reuters
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said he does not recognize European rulings seeking the release of philanthropist Osman Kavala and Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş and will abide by Turkish court rulings on them.
Last week the Council of Europe told Turkey it was preparing "infringement proceedings" over its failure to release Kavala, a move that could lead to Ankara's suspension from the human rights body. It also urged Turkey to release Demirtaş.
Speaking to reporters on a flight returning from Doha on Dec. 8, Erdoğan said that the European rulings on both Kavala and Demirtaş were "null and void" for Turkey.
"We do not recognize decisions taken by the European Union regarding Kavala, Demirtaş and so on," Erdoğan said when asked about the council's decision.
The council's warning on Kavala was in line with a 2019 ruling from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Turkey responded by accusing the Strasbourg-based body of meddling in the workings of its independent courts.
Last week a Turkish court ruled that Kavala should be kept in prison, extending his four-year detention without conviction. He is accused of seeking to oust the government in a case that added to strains in Ankara's troubled relations with its Western allies.
Demirtaş, the former co-chair of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), has been jailed pending trial since Nov. 4, 2016 on terrorism-related charges. They both deny the charges against them.