‘Releases needed in coup plot cases, too’

‘Releases needed in coup plot cases, too’

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
‘Releases needed in coup plot cases, too’

Social peace must be balanced for both sides, the new Turkish Bars’ head has said. AA Photo

Releasing the arrested suspects in the alleged coup plot cases Balyoz (Sledgehammer) and Ergenekon is crucial for achieving social peace, the newly elected President of the Turkish Bar Association (TBB), Metin Feyzioğlu, has said. Feyzioğlu said it was necessary to consider releasing the arrested coup plot suspects at a time when the current resolution process is ongoing and while the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) cases are seeing mass releases.

“Releases have started in the Kurdistan Communities Union [KCK] case. We are pleased about this. However, if social peace is really meant to be achieved, one cannot be content with only the releases in the KCK cases. It is necessary to end the imprisonments that cannot be explained with law, justice or conscience in the Balyoz and Ergenekon cases,” Feyzioğlu told daily Radikal yesterday.

Balyoz and Ergenekon are two of the most controversial cases in recent Turkish history. Some 324 retired and active-duty soldiers have been sentenced to prison terms ranging from between 13 and 20 years in the Balyoz case. The Ergenekon case is trying 275 suspects, of whom 67 are under arrest, including main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies Mehmet Haberal and Mustafa Balbay, former Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ, and Workers’ Party (İP) leader Doğu Perinçek.

“As there is the unfortunate fact that politics are determining these proceedings instead of law, then politics should do what is necessary for social peace, if it really believes in peace,” Feyzioğlu said, adding that he would also continue to show a particular interest in the KCK, the alleged urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), as well as the Balyoz and Ergenekon cases.

“Legal violations may be possible in other cases that are unknown to us, too. Politics determine proceedings in countries where the judiciary is not impartial or independent. In these famous legal cases, the rights to a fair trial and defense are ignored. We will voice the unlawful practices in these cases, including the KCK,” he said.

“We all want social peace in Turkey. We don’t want a feud between brothers. We can only contribute to it by improving the state of law and democracy. Today, the resolution process does not include any aspect of democracy or human rights. The core of the Kurdish issue stems from [lack of] democracy, human rights, the rule of law, and social welfare. So, the paths to peace pass through practicing the rule of law and democracy,” Feyzioğlu added.

He also argued that society should react against any kind of human rights violation, no matter where it takes place or who is victimized. “We expect sincerity from the ruling party on this matter,” he said.

Also a party assembly member of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), Feyzioğlu said he did not want to cause any speculation with regard to his political stance when asked whether he would stand as a candidate for the CHP’s chairmanship.