Jailed main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Istanbul MP Enis Berberoğlu has rejected President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s claim that he wants to blame CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu for having a role in the espionage case that Berberoğlu was imprisoned for.
“Justice may be prevented, my acquittal may be postponed, and the torment I have faced may be prolonged, but in no circumstances can I be a criminal, defamer, or confessor, because there is no crime,” Berberoğlu said in a written statement published by the CHP headquarters via his lawyers Murat Ergün and Yiğit Acar on Aug. 14.
His comments came after Erdoğan implied that an ongoing probe into the espionage and leaking of secret state documents to media outlets could also be linked to the CHP leader, as Berberoğlu is already behind bars in the same case.
“The leader of the main opposition is obviously trying to muddy the waters over concerns that the charges leading to the imprisonment of one of his lawmakers may be linked to him as well. Don’t be surprised if Kılıçdaroğlu’s link to the issue related to the jailed lawmaker is revealed,” Erdoğan said on Aug. 13 at a ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) meeting in Antalya.
“I hear interesting news coming from prison. ‘I will speak if I am not freed,’ the imprisoned person says,” Erdoğan added, referring to Berberoğlu.
However, the CHP deputy rejected Erdoğan’s claims.
“The contents of conversations with visitors to me in jail could be asked to them. But I remember that in all of those [visits] I spoke about my judicial status and I said I have never given up hope of justice,” he said.
CHP spokesperson blasts Erdoğan
CHP spokesperson Bülent Tezcan also blasted Erdoğan’s comments as “a plot against the CHP.”
The president’s words are “acknowledgement of a big plot against the CHP and its leader,” Tezcan told daily Cumhuriyet on Aug. 13.
“Berberoğlu has never said such a thing. Our friends visit him every day for support. The president’s words are actually a covert indecent proposal from Erdoğan to Berberoğlu, telling him that if he accuses Kılıçdaroğlu he will be freed,’” Tezcan said.
“We do not have any friends who would accept such an immoral proposal,” he added.
When asked if the main opposition party expected any legal procedure to be filed against Kılıçdaroğlu, Tezcan vowed that the party “will fight against all attacks that come from the dictatorship.”
“Any steps taken against the main opposition party may open an era where the ruling party would not be able to have their way in peace. I would not recommend that,” he added.
Berberoğlu was sentenced to 25 years in jail by an Istanbul court on June 14 and immediately put in prison.
The court ruled that Berberoğlu had “knowingly helped a terror organization” by providing “state secrets” to the media when gendarmerie forces halted weapons-filled National Intelligence Organization’s (MİT) trucks allegedly heading to Syria near the border on Jan. 19, 2014.