The news we have received on the release on bail of those arrested in Büyükada Island in July, among them Amnesty International’s Turkey Director, are encouraging. As their trial as well as investigations and trials of many journalists, academics, human rights defenders and other civil society activists continue, further positive steps are needed to uphold fundamental rights and freedoms in Turkey and address the serious issues in the areas of rule of law.
The recent detention of Osman Kavala, Chairman of Anadolu Kültür, a trusted interlocutor and advocate of sound EU-Turkey relations, adds to the long list of detentions and arrests of civil society representatives, journalists, academics and others over the past weeks and months further eroding fundamental rights and freedoms, and leading to a shrinking space for civil society. Long detention and pre-trial periods have become the norm rather than the exception.
Mr Kavala has been arrested and charged with seeking to change the constitutional order of Turkey. The public rhetoric and accusations used against Mr Kavala after his detention and prior to his arrest cast serious doubt on the respect of due process and the presumption of innocence.
The case of Mr Kavala needs a very swift resolution on the basis of the principle of presumption of innocence and the application of pre-trial detention in line with the European Convention on Human Rights.
The EU expects the Turkish authorities to respect the standards of the European Convention on Human Rights and the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, including the independence of the judiciary, pre-trial detention as well as the principle of presumption of innocence.