CHP leader says prison cell prepared for CHP deputy Berberoğlu before court ruling

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on Monday said three prison cells were prepared in İstanbul’s Maltepe Prison for CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu before a court convicted and sentenced to 25 years on June 14, the tr724 news website has reported.

Kılıçdaroğlu said this shows how the government wields control over the Turkish judiciary.

“Just think: A person is being tried in court and no ruling has been made, but three special prison cells are prepared in Maltepe Prison. Final preparations are made because it is known beforehand that the person will be convicted. It is known how long a prison sentence he will be given, and a place is readied for him,” said Kılıçdaroğlu at a press conference held on the 12th day of a “March for Justice” he launched to protest the arrest of Berberoğlu.

Berberoğlu was sentenced to 25 years in prison by an İstanbul court on June 14 for leaking information for a report on National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks transporting weapons to jihadists in Syria.

“This situation is one of the most concrete examples showing the link between the government and the judiciary. This is one of the basic things that legitimizes our march. A decision which was expected to be made by a court was made by the executive body. The court just read it,” added Kılıçdaroğlu.

But Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ denied Kılıçdaroğlu’s claim about the Berberoğlu ruling, calling it an “explicit lie” and “slander.”

The Birgün daily has reported that the CHP’s March for Justice attracted the biggest crowd on Monday and that about 10,000 people walked with Kılıçdaroğlu.

Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has criticized a “March for Justice” initiated by CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and said supporters of the march are separatists and members of “FETÖ,” a derogatory term used by government circles to refer to the faith-based Gülen movement.

“The main opposition party has also started marching. I am saying it now, this march  applauded by ‘FETÖ’ members and separatists is not a national march. Our march is for the future and for independence. Kılıçdaroğlu, abandon this project. You cannot go anywhere with separatists and ‘FETÖ’ members. Come and walk together with the nation,” said Yıldırım in a speech at a public meeting in Erzurum.

Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli on Monday has also lambasted CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu for a “March of Justice” launched  by his party in protest of the recent arrest of a CHP deputy. “The CHP must come to its senses. There is no need for show,” said Bahçeli during an Eid al-Fitr ceremony with his party members in Ankara. Bahçeli also called for the continuation of a state of emergency which was declared in Turkey in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

The march, which was launched on June 15 in Ankara, is expected to last for 25 days and end at Maltepe Prison in İstanbul, where Berberoğlu is jailed.

On Saturday, the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) decided to participate in the CHP’s March of Justice as well. (SCF with June 26, 2017

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