Prosecutors targeted Turkey’s main opposition leader through me: CHP leader’s lawyer
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s lawyer Celal Çelik has said prosecutors targeted the party leader through him.
Çelik, who was released on the condition of judicial control and banned from traveling abroad on Sept. 28 after being detained for 13 days over charges linked to the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), also said he was worried prosecutors might want to harm Kılıçdaroğlu through him.
“While I was detained [on Sept. 15], Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu called me. I told him I had no accounts or relations that could put me in trouble and the only thing that caused me sadness was harming him. I have never had a problem regarding my own past and relations …
Everything about him is clear,” Çelik told daily Cumhuriyet on Oct. 1.
“The only thing I was worried about was that prosecutors might want to harm Kılıçdaroğlu through me. They detained me to create intimidation and fear and to carry out a despiteful perception operation targeting Kılıçdaroğlu,” he said.
Çelik said he did not answer any of the questions regarding Kılıçdaroğlu, to whom he conveyed the interrogation process after being released.
“You cannot ask me these questions,” the lawyer reportedly said during his interrogation, in which he was also asked about Kılıçdaroğlu calling the July 15, 2016 failed coup, widely believed to have been orchestrated by FETÖ, a “controlled coup.”
In April, Kılıçdaroğlu said the coup attempt occurred within the knowledge of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and was therefore a “controlled coup,” meeting harsh criticism from the government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Çelik said the “controlled coup” remarks he had also voiced on television, were among the issues of accusations.
“I was asked about the reason why I was using the term ‘controlled coup,’ which they called a ‘FETÖ discourse.’ I told them Kılıçdaroğlu was also voicing that description and that his comments should not be directed as accusations to his lawyer,” he added.
Meanwhile, jailed CHP Istanbul lawmaker Enis Berberoğlu has said he will apply to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) when all legal means are exhausted.
“The judiciary does not act within the framework of justice,” said Berberoğlu, who was sentenced to 25 years in jail for “leaking state secrets” in a Syria-bound intelligence trucks case on June 14.
“When a person is sentenced to 25 years in jail, he stops counting the days inside. The judiciary does not act within the boundaries of justice. It is also confused on what to do. I think it is hard to satisfy both sides,” Berberoğlu told Pınar Türenç, the head of Turkish Press
Council, adding he “feels sad for Turkey,” during the latter’s visit to Istanbul’s Maltepe Prison.
“The Constitutional Court is aware of the situation. The appeals court cannot examine the situations of arrested lawmakers and issue a ruling regarding them. So, I’m waiting for six months to pass. The last stop for me will also be the ECHR,” he also said.
Meanwhile, AKP Manisa Deputy Selçuk Özdağ had said he did not support the lifting of parliamentary immunities in March 2016.
“We wanted constitutional amendments and proposed the lifting of parliamentary immunities for lawmakers who already had a summary of proceedings regarding them. The bill passed with the CHP’s approval. Personally, I’m a lawmaker who is against the lifting of lawmakers’ parliamentary immunities,” Özdağ told daily Habertürk on Oct. 1, as he added he did not cast his vote on the day of voting.
“I was abroad that day, but I voiced this inside the party. I spoke with both the CHP and the MHP [Nationalist Movement Party]. I told them, ‘If you lift them, Kılıçdaroğlu may be arrested in the following days. He has too many summaries of proceedings on him. It is inappropriate.’ I still think the same way. The immunities should not have been lifted,” he said.
Özdağ said lawmakers should be tried over crimes they committed when their deputyship ends. He also defended trial without arrest for those who are not involved in terrorism and who engage in politics or journalism within the indivisible unity of Turkey.
“You can have a trial without arrest with a ban on traveling abroad. I remained in jail for seven years. I know what lack of freedom and jail means. Jail means burying people alive and throwing soil on them every day. If you manage to get on top of the soil you live, but otherwise you die. That is why I would not want anyone’s freedom to be taken away. The judiciary must be very sensitive,” he added.