ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) - Imprisoned former leader of the Kurdish opposition in Turkey Selahattin Demirtas warned Friday that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan was intent on keeping him in prison despite a ruling by a top European court to the contrary.
"Having faced the ECtHR judgment on my case that there were grave rights violations and I had to be released, the AKP has accelerated its pursuit for a move to ‘get the job,'" Demirtas said in a written statement his lawyers delivered from a Turkish prison.
"Getting the job done" was phrase Erdogan himself used earlier this week when challenging in vague terms the decision by the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).
"We have a lot of other things to do in response. We will execute our counter-move and get the job done," the Turkish strongman vowed during a parliamentary convention of his party, without explaining what he meant by "job."
In his response, Demirtas said Erdogan was alluding to a new development in one of the trials against him.
Political pressure has already begun, he said, against an appeals court to quickly hear and uphold a prison sentence of four years and eight months handed down to him in September for "terrorist propaganda" over a previous speech he delivered while still free.
Demirtas' warning came a day after top EU officials, including the bloc's foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini, urged Turkey to abide by the ECtHR's order for his release.
"Under normal circumstances, at the relevant Court of Appeals, similar case files bearing numbers that begin with 17++ have been waiting to be heard for months. However, my case file number 2362, has already been sent to the reporter judge to be examined," Demirtas detailed.
"It is indeed not a coincidence that this extraordinary acceleration began just a few days after the ECtHR ruling. We are witnessing an explicit political intervention," he said. "The aim here is to sentence me with another contrived political decision, and to keep me imprisoned."
Although not convicted of membership in any "terror organization," the leading Kurdish leader has repeatedly been called a "terrorist" by Erdogan.
Demirtas is the Turkish leader's former political rival.
The imprisoned opposition leader said that any member of the Turkish judiciary who becomes "a part of a political operation of this nature" would be committing a severe crime.
"And there is no doubt that one day they will be held accountable before a just court of law. No one should place his or her trust in politicians and become a party to such crimes," he forewarned.
"We will never bow down, and we will stand tall with determination, our spirits high. We will, soon or later, emerge victorious in our struggle for law, justice, freedom, and democracy," Demirtas said defiantly.
Editing by John J. Catherine