Turkish critics want a harder line from visiting head of European court
Turkish lawyers and advocates have criticized the head of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) for not defending human rights and the rule of law robustly enough while meeting President Tayyip Erdogan and top judiciary in Ankara. The European court’s president, Robert Spano, began his four-day visit to Turkey with a speech on judicial independence in which he criticized the country’s arrests of judges and emphasized the principle of subsidiarity, under which Turkish courts must recognize ECHR rulings. But he stopped short of addressing the government’s treatment of some lawyers, including those on hunger strike in prison demanding fair trials. Nor did the speech mention new regulations on bar associations criticized by many lawyers. Last week, lawyer Ebru Timtik died in an Istanbul hospital after a 238-day hunger strike following her conviction last year for membership of a terrorist organization.