Turkish parliamentarians have been targeted by a new court order banning them from attending a contentious court case which was launched against two journalists for releasing footage showing the transfer of Turkish weapons across the Syrian border.
After the trial of the two Cumhuriyet journalists was moved behind closed doors on Friday, the Turkish court charged opposition lawmakers attending the hearing with obstruction of justice when they refused to leave the room.
The lawmakers said that they had acted in protest of the court’s flaunting of legal procedure. Turkey’s Constitutional Court, one of the few government institutions which is said to be independent, ordered the release of the journalists in February, ruling that they were journalists and not terrorists. However, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the country’s government kept the “espionage” case going, appointing a new prosecutor.
“This is beyond common sense. Justice in Turkey ceased to be justice,” legislator Enis Berberoğlu of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) told Sputnik Turkiye.
The case against the journalists is based on the release of photo and video footage showing Turkish arms supplies across the Syrian border, apparently performed by Turkey’s national intelligence agency MIT.
“The problem is not what we did. The problem is that in our country, no one may any longer openly express their own opinions, express criticism of the authorities, who, in turn, may make offensive statements in addressing the citizens, violate the decisions of the Supreme Court and the freedom of expression of journalists. How can you remain silent at the sight of the fascist methods that are now used throughout the power?” Berberoğlu told Sputnik Turkiye.
He added that the case also included a new prosecutor, appointed 36 hours prior to the hearing, who had eight or ten very large case files, which it would be impossible to read through in such a time-frame. Normally, the prosecutor would ask for more time to familiarize himself with the case, said Berberoğlu.
“But since this did not happen, the conclusion is obvious: Most likely, the new prosecutor was simply told in detail, what is expected of him,” the legislator told Sputnik.