Turkish opposition deputy sentenced to 25 years in jail

Turkish opposition deputy sentenced to 25 years in jail

CHP deputy Enis Berberoğlu accused of providing video evidence of Turkish intelligence agencies transporting weapons to Syria and put behind bars.

Turkish opposition party, Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Enis Berberoğlu, sentenced to 25 years in jail for engaging in espionage.

Berberoğlu was accused of providing the newspaper Cumhuriyet with video evidence of Turkish intelligence agencies transporting weapons and ammunition to Syria in 2014.

When the article was published in 2015, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan admitted that the trucks were indeed bound for Syria. Erdoğan said the trucks were delivering military supplies to Turkish soldiers and vowed retribution against those responsible for the story.

The editor-in-chief and Ankara bureau chief of Cumhuriyet at the time the story was published, Can Dündar and Erdem Gül, have each been sentenced to five years in prison. Prosecutors are currently seeking an additional 10 years to be added to each man’s sentence.

Berberoğlu, who was accused of providing the video to Cumhuriyet, is the latest person associated with the story to be put behind bars.

But opposition leaders from the CHP claim that Berberoğlu’s incarceration is politically motivated, and further evidence of the erosion of rule of law and democracy under the leadership of Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Engin Altay, a CHP deputy chairman, denounced the ruling: “This decision is intimidation to the opposition. This decision is intimidation to all who are displeased with the AKP.”

CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu said members of the opposition will lead a protest march from Ankara to İstanbul to show their solidarity with Berberoğlu.

The jailing of opposition members has focused recently on the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), which has 11 legislators behind bars. Thousands of HDP members are also jailed.

Berberoglu becomes the first CHP front bencher to be arrested under the ongoing crackdown in the country, after the coup attempt last July. 
Since then, more than 50,000 people have been jailed, including dozens of journalists. Recently, the head of Amnesty International in Turkey was arrested.
There is an ongoing strict state of emergency, which grants the government sweeping powers to rule by decree. (EVRENSEL DAILY)