Turkish opposition leader’s lawyer: Prosecutor asked me why I cancelled my cable subscription

Lawyer Celal Çelik

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s lawyer, Celal Çelik, who was released on Friday after 14 days of detention over alleged links to the Gülen movement, said the prosecutor asked him why he had cancelled his cable subscription to Digitürk.

“My petition for cancellation of my subscription to Digitürk was presented as evidence of my relationship with a terrorist organization,” Çelik said in an interview with the Cumhuriyet daily on Sunday, adding that he cancelled his subscription following a call by CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu to protest the removal of critical TV channels from Digitürk that were covering government corruption.

Çelik said as other evidence of being linked to the Gülen movement the prosecutor also asked him why he used the term “controlled coup” when he participated in TV programs on a July 15, 2016 coup attempt. The lawyer underlined that it was a term used by CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu.

The government accuses the faith-based Gülen movement of masterminding the failed coup last year. The movement denies the accusation and has called for an international investigation.

Underlining that his detention was an attempt to intimidate CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu, Çelik said the prosecutor deleted the names of CHP deputy and Vice President of Parliament Akif Hamzaçebi and Maltepe Mayor Ali Kılıç from the list of questions about his telephone calls after learning that they were politicians, not working as judges linked with the Gülen movement.

Speaking about his detention for 13 days at a police detention center without being interrogated, Çelik said he was confined with four other people to a small cell.

Çelik was detained on Sept. 15 as part of an İstanbul-based investigation into the Gülen movement over its alleged role in stopping National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks that were suspected of illegally transporting weapons to Syria in 2014.

CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu criticized the detention of his lawyer and said the decision was an “abdication of reason.”

CHP spokesperson Bülent Tezcan also criticized the detention decision and called it part of a “serious conspiracy” and an “intimidation operation.”

Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

Turkey suspended or dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants after the coup attempt. (turkishminute.com)

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