CEFTUS briefing on the ECtHR Demirtas ruling

29 November 2018

The case of imprisoned Selahattin Demirtas encapsulates the fraught nature of Turkey – EU relations

  • Turkey’s detention of Demirtas has been found to be in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights
  • The ruling has potential implications for other imprisoned political figures as well as Turkey’s relationship with the EU
  • Both the EU and Turkey will not want to be seen to back down, but with both sides reluctant to see an outright confrontation a face saving compromise is likely to be reached

On November 20, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Turkey should take all necessary measures to end the pre-trial detention of Selahattin Demirtas. Demirtas is the former co-chair of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP), the third largest party represented in Turkey’s National Assembly. Demirtas has been in pre-trial detention on dozens of terrorism charges relating to alleged support of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) since November 4, 2016. In September, Demirtas was sentenced to four years and eight months in prison on one charge of making propaganda for a terrorist organisation, which he has appealed.

Demirtas’ detention was found to be in violation of three articles of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR)….

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