Ergenekon trial rulings ‘illegitimate,’ says main opposition leader

Ergenekon trial rulings ‘illegitimate,’ says main opposition leader

ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Ergenekon trial rulings ‘illegitimate,’ says main opposition leader

Three CHP deputies were sentenced in the trial. AA photo

Turkish main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has slammed the severe sentences announced in the Ergenekon trial verdict Aug. 5, calling the court’s rulings “illegitimate.” Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli also joined Kılıçdaroğlu in voicing strong criticism of the verdict, which he described as a "murder of law."

“The rulings of the specially authorized courts are not legitimate from a legal, political or moral point of view. The rulings handed down by these courts are illegitimate,” the Republican People’s Party (CHP) head said in his first remarks after the verdict denouncing the special authority of the Courts for Serious Crimes, which deal with terrorism-related cases.

The special courts were abolished last year, but the ongoing Ergenekon and Balyoz (Sledgehammer) coup plot cases were not affected by Parliament’s decision. 

“In democracies, individuals are not tried in special courts linked to the political authority but in normal, independent courts which believe in the rule of law,” Kılıçdaroğlu said. 

“These courts don’t distribute justice. Because they are courts under the instruction of the political authority and intend to fulfill their orders. The notion of rule of law is not valid for these courts,” he added.

Two CHP deputies, journalist Mustafa Balbay and former Ankara Chamber of Commerce chairman Sinan Aygün received 34 years and eight months and 13 years and six months of prison respectively. Another CHP deputy Mehmet Haberal, who was first sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison, was subsequently released for time served during the trial.

Earlier, Aygün said Kılıçdaroğlu “did not expect so many life sentences.” 

Kılıçdaroğlu was surprised for high number of life imprisonments, Aygün told reporters after the meeting.

'National conscience is bleeding': MHP leader

The leader of the second opposition party in Parliament, Bahçeli also said the sentences were "incompatible with legal principles."

"The sentences handed down by Istanbul's 13th High Criminal Court have no doubt made the national conscience bleed and were incompatible with legal principles," Bahçeli said in a written statement, adding that the Turkish Armed Forces were dangerously "battered and humiliated."

"The sentencing of precious individuals who have served as chief of general staff or obtained the opportunity to be in the top echelons of the Turkish Army is a murder of law," he added.

Bahçeli also called for the "rectification of the abnormal sentences and reestablishment of justice" during the appeal process.

"It is clear that this [verdict] is the result of politicized justice. If injustice is not removed and objectivity not ensured, Turkey's social and political structure will not be rescued from chaos and deadlock," his statement also said.