The Association of Schools of Political Studies of the Council of Europe (ASPS) today warmly welcomed the award of the 2023 Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize to Osman Kavala and called for his immediate and unconditional release by the Turkish authorities.

Kavala, a philanthropist, human rights defender and founder of the Turkish School of Political Studies was sentenced to life imprisonment in April 2022 in a travesty of justice.

The ASPS reiterated its call for the Council of Europe to suspend Turkey until it ceases cynically flouting the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and the values which all EU and Council of Europe countries have pledged to respect.

“This award should serve as a wake up call to the Council of Europe and to Turkey”, said ASPS Secretary General, Jack Hanning. “It is high time the Council put into practice the noble principles which Heads of State and Government proclaimed at their 4th Summit Meeting in Reykjavik in May 2023.”

“Failure to act by Council of Europe and European Union Governments in the face of blatant Human Rights violations, undermines democracy, plays into the hands of populist authoritarian leaders and deters people from voting in elections”, he added.