Arrested deputy Balbay spars with chief judge

Arrested deputy Balbay spars with chief judge

ISTANBUL - Anatolia News Agency
Arrested deputy Balbay spars with chief judge

Journalist Mustafa Balbay has been under arrest since March 6, 2009. Hürriyet photo

Mustafa Balbay, an opposition deputy from the People’s Republican Party (CHP) who is currently under arrest in connection with the ongoing Ergenekon trials, engaged in a spat with the chief justice during the 150th hearing of the case Jan. 13.

“There is uncertainty, and no one knows what will happen tomorrow. The judiciary has begotten a milieu of chaos. It is the judiciary that is committing the offense of ‘fomenting chaos,’ of which we stand accused,” Balbay said in the court that was held in Istanbul’s Silivri district. Chief Justice Hasan Hüseyin Özese, in turn, responded that the judiciary does not cause chaos and fulfils its duty. “[The judiciary] cannot bear such a purpose either,” he said.

“I demand that my speech not be cut off in an environment where allegations are boundless and the plea is limited,” Balbay further said.

Özese replied that Balbay’s statement was unacceptable regardless of whether he was implying the court.

Authorities have failed to determine even the place and the methods by which to conduct the trials, let alone determining whether the suspects truly bear any guilt, Balbay said, adding that the legal system in the country had run ashore as the main opposition party was pushed aside.

“Welcome to the theater,” Balbay said in German to Arne König, the head of the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), who attended the trial as part of the audience.

Ergenekon is an alleged ultranationalist gang accused of plotting to overthrow the government by fomenting chaos in society.