Turkey extends Osman Kavala's detention with no legal justification provided
Turkey's refusal to release Kavala or provide legal justification for keeping him behind bars set Ankara on a collision course with Europe's top human rights body.
Osman Kavala, a civil society leader, has had his detention period extended as of the decision of a Turkish court on Monday. Kavala's case has been sought after by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and other Western allies.
Kavala has been held without a conviction since 2017 on the count of financing 2013 anti-government protests and assuming a role in the coup against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2016.
In December 2019, the ECHR has ruled Kavala's detention as politically motivated. Furthermore, the Council of Europe, which is a human rights organization that Turkey joined in the 50s, launched a formal infringement proceeding against Ankara last month.
The organization gave Turkey until Wednesday to either release Kavala or provide a legal justification for keeping Kavala in detention; the court set the next court session for February 21.
Emma Sinclair-Webb of Human Rights Watch (HRW) told AFP after the hearing, "President Erdogan seems willing to be subjected to the sanction process."
Read more: "Erdogan's Anger" Causes Record Low of Lira
The United States and major European powers have been pushing Turkey for the release of Kavala - a case that has strained ties between Turkey and the West. The rising tensions have recently led to Turkey's expulsion of 10 ambassadors.
The Council's infringement procedures against Turkey could last months and years and could potentially see Turkey's loss of voting rights or being kicked out of the pan-European rights body.