Released Ergenekon deputy Haberal meets CHP leader

Released Ergenekon deputy Haberal meets CHP leader

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Released Ergenekon deputy Haberal meets CHP leader

Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Mehmet Haberal (R) met with CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu Aug. 6 in Ankara. AA photo

Republican People's Party (CHP) deputy Mehmet Haberal, who was released yesterday in the Ergenekon coup case for time served, was received today in Ankara by his party's head, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

Listed as a candidate by the CHP in 2011 elections, Haberal will continue to receive his occupational rights, including his salary, until he takes his oath on Sept. 1, finally receiving his legislative rights as well.

According to some sources, Kılıçdaroğlu is considering calling the Parliament into an extraordinary session to discuss Haberal's status.

However Haberal said this question did not come up during the meeting today. "I couldn't meet him when I was became candidate. I was released yesterday, so I visited him at the general headquarters. That's it," Haberal told reporters, adding that he would not influence Kılıçdaroğlu's final decision on calling an extraordinary parliamentary session to enable him to take his oath.

A renowned surgeon and former rector of the private Başkent University, Haberal was one of the most high-profile civilian suspects of the Ergenekon case. Haberal was sentenced to 12 years and six months in prison, however, he was released on Aug. 5 for time served.

Return to his university

Haberal also visited Başkent University, which he founded in Ankara and where he was teaching before the case.

The released deputy was greeted with flowers and flags at the university campus, where reporters caught up with him as he visited a showcase courtroom built on the campus. Haberal said he was enjoying his newly found freedom by strolling in the gardens of his house and “did not sleep at all.”

“They asked Diogenes what was the most beautiful thing in the world, and he replied it was freedom. And justice of course,” Haberal told reporters.

Haberal however was still downhearted about “the innocent people staying in prison for no reason under inhumane conditions,” according to sources.

Uncertainty continues at CHP with regards to the current legal statuses two other CHP deputies still in jail, journalist Mustafa Balbay and former Ankara Chamber of Commerce chairman Sinan Aygün. 

Balbay, sentenced to 34 years in prison, will receive some of his occupational rights, but will not be able to take his oath at the parliament, and will be excluded from the legislation processes. 

Aygün, who was sentenced to 13 years, still has immunity until the Supreme Court of Appeals is done processing the appeals of the verdicts. Aygün will cease to be a deputy in case the court approves of his prison sentence, and his status will only be reactivated if he gets reelected.

The Ergenekon coup plot trial, considered the most important legal battle in recent Turkish history, reached an end Aug. 5 after Istanbul’s 13th High Criminal Court handed down severe punishments, including a life sentence for former Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ.

The verdict trial, which decided the fate of 275 suspects at the end of the five-year process, resulted in hundreds of years of imprisonment in total and several aggravated life sentences for a series of the country’s high-ranking army members, journalists and academics.