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The decision by Robert Spano, President of the European Court of Human Rights, to meet with Turkish President Erdogan and receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Istanbul has been widely criticized by human rights activists and others.

Critics say it is a mistake for the president to accept an honorary degree from a state-run university in Turkey.

Kenneth Roth, executive director of the Human Rights Watch, says the message from Robert and the European Court of Human Rights to Erdogan about respecting law and order has lost its weight.

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Rebecca Harms, who was a member of the European Parliament until 2019, says that it is “disgusting” that Robert should have received the honorary title change. Harms’ colleague Kati Piri, a Member of the European Parliament, says Robert’s decision has damaged the reputation of the European Court of Human Rights.

Mithat Sancar, a former professor and now the leader of the Turkish opposition, wrote an open letter to Robert stating that Robert’s decision to accept the name change was tantamount to agreeing to govern in Turkey.

Turkish tycoon Hamdi Akın İpek, who fled Turkey five years ago, also wrote a letter to Robert. In the letter, Ipek says that the Human Rights Court has not yet heard the case of his brother, who was sentenced to 75 years in prison following the 2016 coup attempt.

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