Turkish nationalist party leader slams ECHR ruling on Demirtaş

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli on Thursday criticised a decision by Europe’s top human rights court that Turkey must immediately release Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtaş from prison, Bianet reported.

"We don't recognise, we don't care (about the ruling), and we scream that it's void before national conscience," he told his party's provincial heads, according to Bianet.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Tuesday ruled that Demirtaş’s rights were violated under five different categories including freedom of expression, right to security and right to be elected. The court said Demirtaş’s detention was a cover for limiting pluralism and political debate in Turkey.

Demirtaş, the former co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), was charged with terrorism offences and has been imprisoned for more than four years.

Following the ruling, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused the ECHR of “double standards” and “defending a terrorist”.

Ankara has pursued a years-long crackdown on the HDP, jailing the party’s former co-chairs, among others, and dismissing elected mayors in the country’s southeast.

Bahçeli, an Erdoğan ally, also reiterated his call on Thursday for the closure of the HDP.