Politicians, relatives react to verdicts in Balyoz
ISTANBUL / ANKARA
PM Erdoğan says he will not comment on the verdicts at the current stage.Opposition politicians and relatives of those convicted in the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) case have reacted harshly to the court rulings.
Ece Saygun, the daughter of retired general Ergin Saygun who was sentenced to 18 years, told the Daily News in front of the courthouse on Sept. 21 that she had not expected such a severe punishment. “But we will gladly take their punishment. I am proud of my father, I hope their children can be equally proud of them. There has never been law here and we will apply for an appeal,” she said.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told reporters he would not comment on the verdicts before the court announces its full decision. “Our desire is that the decisions are justified, but it is still an ongoing process,” said Erdoğan. “We must wait until the Supreme Court of Appeals makes its ruling.”
Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ voiced a similar thought. “The decision is not final, we have to wait for the end of the appeal process to have the final say,” Bozdağ told reporters.
Main opposition party members were harsh on the court rulings. “This decision is a clear violation of the right to a defense,” Ali Özgündüz, a deputy of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), told the Daily News in front of the courthouse.
“In crimes that require a sentence over five years, the court cannot rule without the presence of lawyers. The court asked for the last defense without the lawyers and gave sentences of 13 years and four months at a minimum. I am speaking as a lawyer here, the court violated the basic right of defense and thus, the law,” he said.
CHP reacts harshly
Deputy Chairman of the CHP Emine Ülker Tarhan said the decision went beyond political borders. “Should I say this is a decision from the other end of the ocean?” she asked, in a clear reference to Fethullah Gülen, who lives in self-imposed exile in the United States. In the past, Tarhan has claimed that Gülen’s followers were manipulating the judiciary in Turkey. “Speaking the truth, this is an attempt at intimidation. These decisions are an example for all the other similar cases. These decisions are landmarks,” she added.
Deputy leader of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Mehmet Şandır reacted more calmly, although he said that he believed in the innocence of Engin Alan, an MHP deputy who was sentenced to 18 years in prison. “We are deeply sorry about the sentence given to Alan. As the MHP we will elaborately evaluate this situation. The trial process is continuing, so it is wrong to say he has been found guilty. We believe in his innocence,” said Şandır.
Deputy leader of the CHP Gürsel Tekin said he did not “expect another decision from the Specially Authorized Courts established by the AKP [Justice and Development Party] … It is a dream to expect a healthy trial from these courts,” Tekin said in a televised interview.
“I believe this decision will be thwarted by the Supreme Court of Appeals, as well as international courts.”