Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Enis Berberoğlu took his oath in parliament on Oct. 1 at the opening session of the new legislative year, 10 days after being released from a 15-month imprisonment.
Berberoğlu was released from prison after the Supreme Court of Appeals on Sept. 20 ruled for his release although upholding his jail sentence.
The MP had been sentenced to more than five years in prison on espionage charges and for revealing state secrets.
Berberoglu, who was re-elected as an MP in the June 24 elections, will remain as a lawmaker until his parliamentary term ends – if he is not stripped of his parliamentary seat.
He was initially sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2017 on espionage charges for providing daily Cumhuriyet with a video purporting to show Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucking weapons into Syria.
AKP, MHP leaders meet
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is also the leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli had a meeting in parliament on the sidelines of the opening session.
When asked if an alliance between the two parties for the local elections slated for March 2019 will be forged, Erdoğan said: “Let’s see in the upcoming days. We have discussed this with the MHP leader. He’s looking into it positively, too.”
The two leaders met upon the invitation of Parliament Speaker Binali Yıldırım. İYİ (Good) Party deputy group chair Ahad Andican also attended the meeting, while CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu refused to attend.
Amnesty bill on agenda
Parliament is set to debate on Oct. 3 a motion to extend the Turkish Armed Forces’ deployment in Iraq and Syria. On Oct. 4, parliament will discuss extending the term of Turkish soldiers deployed with the United Nations’ missions in Mali and the Central African Republic.
The parliament committee will also discuss a contentious bill proposed recently by the MHP seeking to grant amnesty to more than 160,000 prisoners.
The bill encapsulates crimes committed before May 19, and 162,989 will benefit from the amnesty, according to MHP officials.