CHP MP ‘arrested on gov’t order,’ says Kılıçdaroğlu
ANKARAMain opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Enis Berberoğlu was arrested on the order of the government, CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has said, describing the arrest “as the most concrete evidence” of judicial interference by the executive power in Turkey.
“We heard something yesterday that saddened us. Apparently, while a person is still being tried by the court, a special cell in three different positions at Maltepe Prison has been prepared [for him]. This has been done because it’s known in advance that this person will be arrested, as well as how many years he will be sentenced to,” Kılıçdaroğlu said on June 26, speaking to reporters on the 12th day of his “justice march” from Ankara to Istanbul.
Although Kılıçdaroğlu did not name him explicitly, the individual he was referring to is believed to be CHP Istanbul MP Berberoğlu, who faces 25 years in prison on espionage charges on June 14. The arrest prompted Kılıçdaroğlu to start his “justice march” toward Maltepe Prison in Istanbul, where Berberoğlu is jailed, condemning all injustices in Turkey.
“This is one of the most concrete examples of the link between the judiciary and the government, and it is another incident that justifies our march. The court still has to issue its verdict but the decision has already been given by the executive. The court only announces what has already been decided,” the CHP head said.
The cell where Berberoğlu will be placed has already been prepared and officials have visited the prison to check the preparations, said Kılıçdaroğlu.
“This hurt us deeply and shows us once again why justice is a must. We are continuing on our way on our 12th day,” he added.
Bozdağ: CHP leader is lying
Kılıçdaroğlu’s claims drew and angry response from Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ, who described them as a “big lie.”
“Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu, you are lying in the people’s face. You are even not blushing. No such thing has happened. This is a lie. Beyond even a lie, it is slander. It is slander aiming to provoke the people,” Bozdağ told reporters in the Central Anatolian province of Yozgat.
He claimed that he only heard about Berberoğlu’s arrest after the court had issued its verdict, and said the decision about the prison where he would be placed if convicted would only be made after the final court verdict.
Kılıçdaroğlu had initially announced that his intention was to walk to Istanbul alone, accompanied only by a placard with “justice” written on it. However, large crowds have been accompanying him on the road, with up to 6,000 well-wishers walking alongside him every day.
The CHP leader spends the nights in a specially designed caravan, while those accompanying him sleep in tents.