03/10/2021 Turkey (International Christian Concern) – Two of Turkey’s highest-profile legal cases continue to face extended delays. Three European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) orders were given to Turkey to release activist Osman Kavala. However, he has remained in pre-trial detention since November 2017.
The committee responsible for overseeing the implementation of ECHR judgments will meet this week to review Turkey’s noncompliance. Several non-governmental organizations recommended that the Council of Europe should take action against Turkey in order to make it clear to Erdogan and the Turkish government that they must comply with international law and standards.
President Erdogan’s recent human rights plan fell short in several ways, including the lack of pursuit of significant religious freedom. Though the plan suggests improvements to trial rights, no indication of justice for Kavala was given and he remains imprisoned after international orders were given to release him. In an interview via Kavala’s lawyers, he indicated that he was not hopeful for the future of Turkey’s legal system.
The second legal case is the criminal trial against several public officials for the 2007 murder of Agos Newspaper’s Editor-In-Chief, Armenian Hrant Dink. The first trial was overturned and this new trial began in 2016. The final ruling was to be announced on March 5th. However, when the court resumed, the Dink family was informed that one of the judges was on medical leave. The ruling has now been pushed back yet again to March 26.
Both Dink and Kavala are recognized as activists who pursue reconciliation for religious and ethnic minorities. The pursuit of pan-Turkism, which views Christianity and other minorities as threats to their ideology, and the subsequent punishments extend even to those advocating on their behalf.
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