Spano told Erdogan to abide by ECHR rulings - Official readout

European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) President Robert Spano stressed the importance of the rule of law and democracy during his meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week, the official ECHR website said, releasing a readout of the meeting. 

Chief Judge Spano stayed in Turkey for three days last week during which he met with top governmental officials, including the Speaker of Parliament and Justice Minister. According to Turkey observers, Spano did not accept any meeting requests from human rights organisations in Turkey nor from any opposition party representative, human rights organisations or activists.

The release said that during the meeting, Spano "recalled the principles set out in the European Convention on Human Rights. He stressed the importance of the rule of law and democracy and in particular in those contexts the need to safeguard the independence of the judiciary and freedom of expression."

According to 2019 statistics, Turkey was placed second among 140 countries in violating the European Convention on Human Rights, left-leaning Turkish daily Birgün reported, citing a report by Turkey's Ministry of Justice.

In the meeting with Erdogan, Spano conveyed that "Where the Court found a violation of the Convention, States were under a clear obligation to comply with that ruling and draw the necessary consequences."

Spano came under criticism for his "one-sided" visit to Turkey. Spano's visit to Turkey played a legitimising role in Turkish violations of human rights and basic freedoms, critics told Ahval. 

Spano should resign for his one-sided visit to Turkey, which resembled a ''pro-government puppet-show," said Şebnem Korur Fincancı, leading forensic medicine expert and chairperson of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV).

"When you breach impartiality and independence, all judgements would have question marks,” Fincanci said, noting the lack of concern during the visit for “ethical regulations.”