Turkey will not respect the Council of Europe if it does not respect Turkish courts, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Feb. 3, when asked about a decision to refer the case against philanthropist Osman Kavala back to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) .
"I am telling it simple and clear: We will not recognize those that do not recognize our own courts. There is a decision handed down by our courts; in this case, it does not concern us what the ECHR or the Council of Europe say. We expect that they respect our courts. If they do not show respect to our courts, we won't respect theirs as well," Erdoğan said on Feb. 3.
Erdoğan made the comments at a news conference before departing on a visit to Ukraine.
The Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers decided on Feb. 2 to refer to the ECHR the question of whether Turkey violated the European Convention on Human Rights by not releasing Kavala.
The move is the next step in "infringement proceedings," which could result in Turkey's suspension from the Council of Europe, of which it is a founding member.
Kavala was arrested in 2017 on charges that he helped to plan the 2013 Gezi Park protests in Turkey. He was cleared of these charges in February 2020 but immediately arrested on charges that he orchestrated the July 2016 coup attempt. Kavala has been held in pre-trial detention for over four years without a conviction.
In 2019, the ECHR said Kavala's ongoing imprisonment was political and called on Turkey to free him.