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The following article by Hüseyin Şimşek appeared in the opposition BirGün newspaper on 22 November 2018. Translated from Turkish by Tim Drayton

Stubbornness engenders crisis

With the government’s position on the Demirtaş ruling becoming clear, the lawyers plan to bring the matter back to the ECtHR. Jurists and politicians are warning that flouting the ruling could lead to political and economic crisis.

HÜSEYİN ŞİMŞEK

Following the release ruling passed by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) regarding Selahattin Demirtaş, his lawyers have applied to Ankara Serious Crime Court No 19, which issued the detention order. The lawyers have applied for Demirtaş’s release, submitting a copy of the ECtHR ruling to the court.

Following comments by AKP General Chair and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan that “The ECtHR ruling is not binding on us,” Demirtaş’s lawyers have begun to await the countersteps the government will take. If the necessary action as per the release ruling is not taken, the matter will be notified to the ECtHR and the Council of Europe.

WARNINGS OF A TWO-PRONGED CRISIS

Assessing the matter for BirGün, jurist Prof. Dr. Yaman Akdeniz warned that non-implementation of the ruling was in violation of the Council of Europe, and could invoke sanctions. Prof. Dr. Akdeniz said, “The ruling was passed by the highest court and is binding. The sole course of action the local court can take is to order release. Through the application that will be made to the body responsible for the implementation of the ruling, the Council of Europe, the matter will also find inclusion on their agenda.”

Stating that, if the Council of Europe launches a probe, Turkey could be expelled from the council of which it is a founding member, Akdeniz commented, “This situation could spark off an international political crisis. Our relations with Europe will be affected in a negative sense. It may turn into both a political and economic crisis. Also, the decision whereby he is ‘detained for political reasons’ will constitute a precedent in the other parliamentarians’ and Osman Kavala’s applications.”

RELATIONS WITH THE EU COULD COME TO AN END

For his part, CHP member of parliament Burak Erbay, a member of the Turkey - European Union Mixed Parliamentary Commission, pointed out that non-implementation of the ruling could bring relations with the EU to an end.

Recalling that Europe’s economic relations with Turkey were at a high level, Erbay commented, ”It is impossible for us to reject the ECtHR ruling and chart a different road map. It is unacceptable, while already engulfed in crisis economically, for our relations with Europe to embark on fresh crisis. The attitude ‘I don’t recognize the ruling’ comes as a blow to the economy. Erdoğan’s attitude is not a sustainable attitude. There is a need for action within the bounds of common sense and for Demirtaş to be released.”

IT WILL COME ONTO THE AGENDA IN DECEMBER

Considerable clarity has been attained over the road map potentially to be followed in the event of the non-implementation of the ECtHR’s ruling on Demirtaş. From what has been gleaned, the ECtHR will first await the local court’s implementation of the ruling. The issued ruling will pass to the responsibility and onto the agenda of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. From this stage onwards, the committee will monitor the implementation of the ruling.

This matter, which is expected to come onto the committee’s meeting agenda spread over a period of six months, is expected to be discussed at the first committee meeting scheduled for the coming month thanks to Demirtaş being in a “prioritized” position. In this event, the committee will obtain the Turkish government’s opinion and the political sanctions period will commence.

Archive of Turkish press translations by Tim Drayton