Turkey’s President Erdogan has given a clear instruction to the judiciary to keep the jailed former co-leader of Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtas, and the human rights campaigner, Osman Kavala, behind bars.
When asked to comment on the unjust ongoing detention of Kavala and Demirtas, Erdogan said “Demirtas is a terrorist” and the “judiciary will not protect a terrorist like him.” In a statement, which is clearly aimed at warning the judiciary, he said “It is not for me to intervene in the business of the judiciary but we are not going to protect the so-called rights of a terrorist like Selahattin Demirtas. (…) I believe that our judiciary won’t provide an opportunity for a terrorist like him. We will never pave the way for his release.”
These words show Erdogan’s intention to continue to deny justice to thousands activists, journalists and politicians (including those from the HDP) who remain behind bars.
It is well evidenced that Erdogan exercises significant control over the decisions of the judiciary and statements such as these result in the continued denial of justice for those already detained or in the criminalisation of individuals and groups he publicly targets.