Freed lawmaker and journalist Balbay takes belated Parliamentary oath
Journalist and elected lawmaker Mustafa Balbay (R) with main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. Cihan photoJournalist and elected lawmaker Mustafa Balbay has taken his oath in the Parliament today following his release from prison more than two years after winning his parliamentary seat.
“I have entered through this door as a journalist many times, but this is the first time I’m entering as a deputy,” the Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) İzmir deputy told reporters in the Parliament prior to taking his oath.
“I’m very excited,” he added. “I care about this Parliament a lot. It is still above everything no matter what happened… I dream by myself as there are a lot of things we can do together with 550 people. We are taking the first step together,” he said.
Balbay, 53, who was elected to Parliament in the 2011 general elections for the CHP, was sentenced to nearly 35 years in prison over his alleged links with the Ergenekon coup gang that allegedly aimed to topple the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.
Istanbul 13th High Criminal Court ruled on Dec. 9 for the release of Balbay, following a Constitutional Court ruling that his lengthy imprisonment amounted to a “violation of the law” and a “violation of his right to be elected.”