Turkey’s main opposition leader accuses prosecutors in daily Cumhuriyet case of being Gülenists

Turkey’s main opposition leader accuses prosecutors in daily Cumhuriyet case of being Gülenists

Turkey’s main opposition leader accuses prosecutors in daily Cumhuriyet case of being Gülenists

AFP photo

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has accused the prosecutors in the daily Cumhuriyet case of being members of the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ).

“It’s now better understood that the prosecutors who prepared this indictment are crypto FETÖ members,” Kılıçdaroğlu told daily Cumhuriyet on July 30, adding that the prosecutors should themselves be investigated. 

An Istanbul court on July 28 ordered the release of seven Cumhuriyet journalists and executives but ruled for the continuation of arrest for another four accused on charges of “supporting terror.”

The released journalists and executives were cartoonist Musa Kart, Bülent Utku, Turan Günay, Önder Çelik, Kemal Güngör, Hakan Karasinir and Güray Öz. 

However, the court rejected the release demand of journalists Ahmet Şık, Kadri Gürsel, Murat Sabuncu and board member Akın Atalay, accusing them of aiding the movement of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, widely believed to have been behind the failed July 15, 2016 coup attempt.

“Release all our friends you are keeping in jail. If the slightest respect for democracy and the law is left in Turkey, they should be freed. In fact, if the law was actually functioning then investigations should be launched against the prosecutors who wrote the indictments over misleading the court,” CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu said. 

“I have read the defenses in newspapers and I thought that all Cumhuriyet staff would be released. The refusal to release four of our friends has created deep concern in me. This shows that the court ruling wasn’t fair or objective and the decision was actually made elsewhere,” he added. 

“It’s beyond reason to accuse Cumhuriyet of supporting FETÖ when in fact the daily has been struggling against the group throughout its entire publication life,” he said.

“It’s unbelievable that a prosecutor such as Murat İnam, who is himself facing life in prison on FETÖ accusations, prepared the indictment. When I said this before, the Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office hastily released a statement. Who gave the orders to make that statement? This should be evaluated,” Kılıçdaroğlu said. 

The CHP leader stressed that prosecutors should not be concerned with any newspaper’s publishing policy. 

“If a publishing policy disturbs the dictator, it shows that the daily is right and on the right path Cumhuriyet is against dictates and defends democracy and freedoms,” he added. 

The main opposition leader also commented on the situation of CHP lawmaker and former journalist Enis Berberoğlu, who was sentenced to 25 years in jail for “leaking state secrets” in the Syria-bound intelligence trucks case. 

“Sentencing Berberoğlu to 25 years in jail is not something that conscience can handle, just like the Cumhuriyet case. The ruling against him strengthened the negative perception against Turkey in the world. I hope this reality will be seen in the appeal process and Berberoğlu will be released with a just outcome,” he added. 

Moreover, Kılıçdaroğlu said a special commission to monitor Berberoğlu’s case is being formed within the CHP. 

“Our Muğla deputy Ömer Süha Aldan will be the leader of the commission. They will investigate the case with all its details and will bring it to the agenda in all platforms,” he added.