Jailed deputy disputes columnists’ impressions

Jailed deputy disputes columnists’ impressions

ISTANBUL - Doğan News Agency
Jailed deputy disputes columnists’ impressions

CHP’s jailed MP and journalist Balbay disputes reports on the situation in jails.

Opposition deputy and journalist Mustafa Balbay, who has been behind bars in connection with the ongoing Ergenekon probe for over three years, disputed the account of prison conditions provided by 12 columnists who visited Istanbul’s Silivri prison May 11.

“The journalists who toured Silivri Prison with the minister [of justice] were greeted with perfumes and bid farewell with roses. Both are forbidden inside [prison],” Mustafa Balbay, an İzmir deputy from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), said in a two-page written statement.

Visit to Silivri

A dozen columnists including Ahmet Hakan Coşkun, Ruşen Çakır, Aslı Aydıntaşbaş and Oral Çalışlar had paid a visit to Silivri Prison in Istanbul on May 11 in the company of Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin.
“I would like to ask the journalists who [toured] Silivri Prison with the minister: Could you tour a school with no students present in it and say the quality of the education there is perfect? Could you go around a hospital without making any contact with the patients and say that everyone is receiving great treatment?” Balbay wrote.

Mustafa Balbay also addressed to columnists in his statement.

“If the answer to the above questions is in the affirmative, then you could also comment in the same vein as the journalists who claimed there has been progress since 1980, or that prison conditions are quite good, without interviewing a single inmate in a prison that holds some 10,000 prisoners. If I had been in [the columnists’] shoes, I would tell the minister: ‘We cannot comment about Silivri without interviewing some inmates through mutual acceptance.’ I respect the journalists’ views, but I am reproaching them,” he added.

Balyoz suspects apply to Parliament

ISTANBUL – Doğan News Agency

Some 80 suspects in the ongoing Balyoz (Sledgehammer) case have petitioned Turkish Parliament, calling on the commission charged with conducting the probe into the country’s past coups to investigate the alleged Balyoz coup-plot as well.

“We request the most tragic allegation pertaining to an attempted coup in our recent history to be included in your investigations as well,” read the petition signed by approximately 80 suspects who were arrested pending trial in the Balyoz case. Vice Adm. Kadir Sağdiç, Vice Adm. Mehmet Otuzbiroğlu, Rear Adm. Fatih Ilgar, Col. Ahmet Zeki Üçok, and their lawyers Celal Ülgen and Hüseyin Ersöz submitted the four page petition to Parliament and requested it be presented to the Parliament Coup Investigation Commission.

“We request to be called to testify at your commission to reveal our innocence and lay the truth bare if [you] decide to include in your investigations the so-called ‘Balyoz Coup Plan’ and the [relevant] allegations concerning a coup attempt,” the petition stated.

The parliamentary commission in question is currently tasked with investigating the coup of May 27, 1960, the coup by memorandum on March 12, 1971, the Sept. 12, 1980 coup and the so-called “postmodern coup” of Feb. 28, 1997.

Turkey, AKP,