The Council of Europe announced Friday it will take disciplinary action against Turkey if it refuses to release jailed philanthropist Osman Kavala.Â
This is only the second time in the Council of Europeâ€™s history that the procedure has been triggered, said a spokesperson for the organization. If Turkey fails to abide by the judgment, the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe would have to decide on the sanctions against Turkey after a two-thirds vote by the committee and the ECHRâ€™s approval.
Disciplinary proceedings have never reached that stage, said the spokesperson, â€œso, in a way, it would be uncharted territory.â€
The judgment said that Kavalaâ€™s detention was based on â€œacts that could not be reasonably considered as behaviour criminalised under domestic law.â€ Without evidence of criminal activity, the ECHR judged, â€œhe could not reasonably be suspected of having attempted to overthrow the Government by force or violence.â€
Kavala was arrested in Istanbul in October 2017 on suspicion of having links to the Fethullah GÃ¼len movement, led by a U.S.-based Muslim preacher Ankara accuses of inciting a failed coup in 2016; and financing the 2013 nationwide anti-government demonstrations that started at Istanbulâ€™s Gezi Park. He is also accused of involvement in the 2016 coup attempt.
The Turkish prosecutorâ€™s office considered those acts an insurrection by terrorist organizations aimed at overthrowing the government.
â€œIt is now up to the Turkish courts and authorities to rise to the occasion and show political will by adhering to international commitments, democracy and rule of law. This is the only way forward to allow EU-Turkey cooperation to deepen, including the renewal of the customs union,â€ said Amor and Lagodinsky in a joint statement.
The Council of Europe â€” a 47-country human rights organization that is distinct from the European Union â€” has asked Turkey to give its view on the case by January 19, 2022.