Erdogan rejects European court’s ‘non-binding’ decision over pro-Kurdish leader

Supporters of detained pro-Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtas held a rally in Ankara. (FIle/AFP)
Updated 20 November 2018
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Erdogan rejects European court’s ‘non-binding’ decision over pro-Kurdish leader

  • “The decisions delivered by the ECHR do not bind us”
  • The court said the reasons given for keeping him behind bars were not “sufficient”

ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday rejected a decision by the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights calling for the release of pro-Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtas.
“The decisions delivered by the ECHR do not bind us,” Erdogan was quoted as saying by the state-run Anadolu news agency.
The European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday called on Turkey to release pro-Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtas, saying his detention since 2016 on terror charges was aimed at “stifling pluralism.”
Demirtas, one of two former co-leaders of the leftist pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), was arrested in November 2016 over his alleged links to Kurdish militants.
At the time of his arrest he was a member of parliament.
The court in the French city of Strasbourg said it accepted that Demirtas had been arrested on “reasonable suspicion” of committing a crime, but said the reasons given for keeping him behind bars were not “sufficient” and constituted “an unjustified interference with the free expression of the opinion of the people.”
It found that the extension of his detention, particularly during a referendum on expanding President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s powers and later a presidential election, were aimed at “stifling pluralism and limiting freedom of political debate, which was at the very core of the concept of a democratic society.”
“The court therefore held, unanimously, that the respondent state was to take all necessary measures to put an end to the applicant’s pre-trial detention,” it added.
The ECHR hears cases of alleged violations of the European Convention on Human Rights of which Turkey is a signatory.

(With AFP)


Three rail workers detained after Turkish rail crash

Updated 7 min 5 sec ago
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Three rail workers detained after Turkish rail crash

ANKARA: A Turkish court on Monday placed three railway workers in pre-trial detention after they were accused of negligence leading to last week’s fatal rail crash in Ankara.
Nine people were killed and almost 90 injured after a high-speed train crashed into a locomotive.
Those detained — a signalman, a switchman and a controller working for the state railway authority — face charges of reckless manslaughter and causing injury, the Anadolu state news agency reported.
Following the accident Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed those responsible would be held to account.
Ankara Governor Vasip Sahin said the accident happened after the early morning high-speed train with some 200 people aboard and traveling to the central province of Konya hit a locomotive checking rails on the same route.
Turkey has in recent years sought to modernize its railways network following a string of fatal accidents.
July saw 24 people killed when passenger train left the track in northwestern Turkey.