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POLITICS > Turkish MP under arrest cautious ahead of key hearing

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News

A recently adopted judicial reform package leaves no room for a further extension to the arrest of currently imprisoned members of the Parliament, which may result in the release of arrested suspects. HDN's Özgür Korkmaz follows the case at Silivri.

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Özgür Korkmaz Özgür Korkmaz ozgur.korkmaz@hurriyet.com.tr

The 200th hearing of the Ergenekon coup plot trial began today with high expectations for the release of arrested suspects.

Hours after Parliamentary Speaker Cemil Çiçek's remark on the recent reform, many high-profile suspects in coup plot cases applied to courts for their release, citing the recent judicial amendments. The applicants included the jailed main opposition party deputy Mustafa Balbay, who is on trial in Ergenekon case, journalists Soner Yalçın, Barış Pehlivan who are currently on trial in the Oda TV case, and 17 Balyoz suspects.

Suspects in the case filed requests for release recently citing recently enacted judicial amendments. One of the arrested suspects, main opposition lawmaker Mustafa Balbay, however, was cautiously optimistic going into the hearing.

"This is the fourth time that hopes have been high for the release of the arrested suspects. We have learned to be ready for any outcome," Balbay said when talking to his supporters and relatives before the hearing started.

Balbay said the situation today was different. "This time the judges might act differently, they have been left alone," he said. "Everybody, including the prime minister and the president are aware that this situation cannot continue."

Journalist Tuncay Ozkan, who is also under arrest pending trial, was more optimistic.

"Today, we will send our lawmakers to Parliament," Ozkan said. "They will break the doors of the cages.”

July/06/2012

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