“Here, the referee of the game is trying to score a goal,” said Riza Kocal, a lawyer for the defendants belonging to Carsi, a fan group of the Besiktas football club in Istanbul. “The joining of cases is baseless. Each file should be sent to its own court.”
Even as Mr. Erdogan, who faces increasingly severe economic and political challenges at home, has sought to repair relations with the United States and Europe, he has repeatedly rejected calls to improve Turkey’s poor record on justice or to release prominent political prisoners like Mr. Kavala.
Turkey has ignored several decisions by the European Court of Human Rights pressing for the release of detainees like Mr. Kavala. That has prompted human rights organizations to urge the committee of ministers who oversee the court to begin infringement proceedings against Turkey, a rare action that could lead to its suspension from the court.
“The Turkish courts and prosecutors have engaged in a series of tactics to circumvent the authority of the E.C.H.R. and the Council of Europe,” Aisling Reidy, senior legal adviser at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement at the time. “They have issued repeated sham release orders, initiated multiple criminal proceedings on the same facts, repeatedly issued detention decisions while adopting unwarranted procedural decisions to prolong detention.”
The Kavala affair has done a lot of damage to Turkey’s standing in the United States Congress and across Europe, Ms. Aydintasbas said. “A rational actor would have let Kavala go long ago, knowing that would buy Turkey some good will at the lowest point of its relations with the West.”
“I think at this point it’s more of a systemic obsession than anything else,” she added. “Everyone knows Osman, as a civil society member, is not a political threat to anyone. He didn’t organize Gezi or the coup and I doubt anyone actually believes that.”
The next hearing will be on Nov. 26, the judge said.