The newly-elected head of the Turkish Union of Bar Associations (TBB), Erinç Sağkan, has said that the union will follow the case of imprisoned philanthropist and human rights defender Osman Kavala closely from now on.
"I don't expect the TBB to do miracles, but it has to do its part," Sağkan told the daily Sözcü on Dec. 12.
Sağkan, who replaced former pro-government union leader Metin Feyzioğlu on Dec. 5, criticized the previous leadership for ignoring the Kavala case.
"Have you ever heard a statement from the union that says Kavala's imprisonment is a rights violation? Have you seen any effort to follow the case and inform the public?" he asked.
Kavala was arrested in November 2017 on charges that he helped facilitate the Gezi Park protests of 2013. He was acquitted of those charges in February 2020, but Turkish authorities immediately re-arrested him on charges that he was involved in the 2016 coup attempt.
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.
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.