The European court of human rights (ECtHR) has demanded from Turkey for the release of Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş, should you not provide new reasons and evidence for his imprisonment. In their ruling the judges in Strasbourg have come to the conclusion that the arrest of the opposition politician was a reasonable suspicion. The length of the detention will not be justified but, it is stated in the judgment.

Demirtaş was prior to his incarceration as one of the strongest opponents of the Turkish President and AKP Chairman Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Only a week after he became Co-Chairman of the prokurdischen opposition party, HDP, he entered in the 2014 presidential election against Erdoğan and reached the third place. A year later, he led his HDP in the Turkish Parliament. In 2016, the success of the HDP was the reason that the AKP lost its absolute majority. However, Erdoğan called a few months later, new elections, and the absolute back took more time.

In November 2016, was arrested Demirtaş under terrorist accusations, and, ever since, is in a high-security prison in Edirne. He pursued for political reasons – and now by the European court of human rights law.

In their ruling, the judges refer to the pre-trial detention as an “unlawful interference in the free expression of the people”. To be the rights of the opposition politician is elected and his Parliament mandate had been limited. The detention of the 45-Year-old on the this year’s presidential elections and the controversial Referendum for the Transition from a parliamentary to a presidential system, in addition to serve the aim “to stifle the pluralism and to limit the freedom of political debate,” criticized the court.

Although he was sitting in prison, Demirtaş in the presidential elections again in June as a candidate against Erdoğan and reached 8.4 percent of the votes the third place.

Turkey as a member of the Council of Europe must, in principle, to the judgment. Legally it is not. Both sides can apply, within three months of the referral to the Grand chamber of the ECtHR.

In a first reaction, the head of state, Erdoğan pointed right at it. “The judgments of the ECtHR are not binding for us. We make a turn and stop the thing,” he said, according to the state Anadolu news Agency, without clarifying what he meant by that. The HDP, however, challenged him via Twitter to follow the decision of the court.

Kevin Chung studied literature in Seoul. He is interested in various areas. He can be reached at or 82-2-6956-6698.