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Turkey accuses EU of overstepping brief on jailed Kurdish leader

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu [Getty]

Date of publication: 23 November, 2018

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The EU's top diplomat Federica Mogherini on Thursday expressed hope that Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtas would be freed soon.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Friday accused the European Union's top diplomat of overstepping her brief by calling for the release of jailed Kurdish leader Selahattin Demirtas.

"She exceeded her limits a little," Cavusoglu told CNN-Turk television, a day after Federica Mogherini expressed hope that Demirtas, who has been held in Turkey for two years on terror charges, would soon be freed.

Demirtas, 45, one of two former co-leaders of the leftist Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), was arrested in November 2016 over alleged links to Kurdish militants.

The Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday urged Ankara to release Demirtas - which was hailed by the jailed leader as "legal acknowledgement of my status as a political hostage".

The court accepted Demirtas had been arrested on "reasonable suspicion" of committing a crime, but said the reasons given for keeping him behind bars were not "sufficient".

At a press conference with Cavusoglu in Ankara, Mogherini said on Thursday: "We hope he will be released shortly."

Demirtas denies all the charges and claims the case against him is politically motivated.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected the European court's finding.

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