Court releases Turkey’s main opposition leader’s lawyer
A court has released main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s lawyer Celal Çelik, who was detained over an investigation into the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).
Çelik, who was detained on Sept. 15 in Ankara as part of an investigation carried out by the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, was released on condition of judicial control and a ban on traveling abroad late on Sept. 29.
The lawyer remained in custody for 13 days after being detained over “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in 2014 and “aiding and making propaganda” for the movement of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, widely believed to have orchestrated the July 15, 2016 attempted takeover.
After being released, Çelik first called his family.
A former investigating judge at the Supreme Court, Çelik resigned from his post in 2011 in protest at the reorganization of the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) following a constitutional amendment that took place in 2010.
Following his resignation, Çelik became the official lawyer of the CHP and Kılıçdaroğlu. He is also a CHP high disciplinary board member.
His detention prompted a swift and strong response from the CHP, with Kılıçdaroğlu describing it as “the abdication of reason,” while Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said it was simply a “work of the judiciary.”
CHP Deputy Chair Bülent Tezcan said the decision was “unacceptable.”
“Justice, the law, morality, and conscience cannot accept the fact that a lawyer who is willing to devote his whole career to opposing FETÖ has been arrested as a tool for further plots,” Tezcan said on Sept. 15.
More recently, Tezcan slammed the extension of Çelik’s detention period, saying that he was “being held without any serious evidence or documents in the hands of the prosecution.”
“Clearly the prosecution is looking for evidence in order to keep him in detention,” Tezcan said on Sept. 25, while describing the investigation as “unserious” and “an unlawful intimidation operation.”