Erdogan says he will follow Turkish rulings on philanthropist Kavala - TV

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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a news conference after his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (not pictured) at Huber Mansion in Istanbul, Turkey October 16, 2021. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

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ISTANBUL, Dec 8 (Reuters) - President Tayyip Erdogan said he does not recognise European rulings seeking the release of philanthropist Osman Kavala and Kurdish politician Selahattin Demirtas and will abide by Turkish court rulings on them, broadcaster NTV reported on Wednesday.

Last week the Council of Europe told Turkey it was preparing "infringement proceedings" over its failure to release Kavala, a move that could lead to Ankara's suspension from the human rights body. It also urged Turkey to release Demirtas. read more

Speaking to reporters on a flight returning from Doha, Erdogan was quoted as saying the European rulings on both Kavala and Demirtas were "null and void" for Turkey.

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"We do not recognise decisions taken by the European Union regarding Kavala, Demirtas and so on," Erdogan said when asked about the council's decision.

The council's warning on Kavala was in line with a 2019 ruling from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Turkey responded by accusing the Strasbourg-based body of meddling in the workings of its independent courts.

Last week a Turkish court ruled that Kavala should be kept in prison, extending his four-year detention without conviction. He is accused of seeking to oust the government in a case that added to strains in Ankara's troubled relations with its Western allies.

Demirtas, ex-leader of Turkey's third largest parliamentary party, has been jailed pending trial since November 2016 on terrorism-related charges. They both deny the charges against them.

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Reporting by Ece Toksabay and Tuvan Gumrukcu, Writing by Daren Butler, Editing by Angus MacSwan

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