Council of Europe takes action against Turkey over jailed activist

QAMISHLI, Syria (North Press) – The Council of Europe (COE) said on Friday, it will launch disciplinary action against Turkey for refusing to free prominent activist and philanthropist Osman Kavala, triggering a procedure used only once before in the organization’s history.

The Council said in a statement that the pan-European rights body’s committee of ministers agreed the move over Turkey’s repeated refusal to comply with a 2019 ruling by the European Court of Human Rights to release Kavala from prison.

“By failing to ensure the applicant’s immediate release, the committee considers that Turkey is refusing to abide by the court’s final judgment in this case,” the COE’s latest statement said.

The committee’s decision, which requires approval by a two-thirds majority, now places Turkey under an official memo that the European Court of Human Rights will consider its failure to release Kavala.

The court will then decide whether Turkey’s failure to implement its decision constitutes a further violation of the European Convention on Human Rights or not.

In its statement on Friday, the Council asked Ankara to submit its view on the case by January 19, 2022. The Committee will then refer the case back to the European Court of Human Rights at its next meeting on February 2. The next hearing in the Kavala case is scheduled to take place in Istanbul on January 17.

This is the second time the COE has used these measures against one of its 47 member states, the first occasion being a 2017 action against Azerbaijan over its refusal to release a dissident.

The 62-year-old Kavala was arrested in November 2017 and accused of organizing anti-government protests in Istanbul’s Gezi Park four years earlier.