Turkey frees prominent opposition lawmaker Berberoglu
ISTANBUL (AP) — A Turkish court on Thursday released a prominent lawmaker from the main opposition party who had been sentenced to more than five years in prison for revealing state secrets and espionage.
State-run news agency Anadolu said Thursday the sentence of Enis Berberoglu, re-elected in June, has been suspended for as long as he remains a lawmaker.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of Turkey’s pro-secular Republican People’s Party, or CHP, welcomed the release of Berberoglu, tweeting: “We will continue to chase justice for everyone.”
Berberoglu met his family and CHP members, including Kilicdaroglu, after his release from an Istanbul prison, Turkey’s private Demiroren news agency reported.
Berberoglu, a 62 year-old former journalist, was initially sentenced to 25 years in prison in June 2017 for allegedly leaking footage to opposition Cumhuriyet newspaper suggesting Turkey had smuggled arms to Islamic rebels in Syria. In February, the sentence was reduced to five years and 10 months.
In July 2017, Kilicdaroglu led a 450-kilometer (280-mile) march from Ankara to the prison where Berberoglu was jailed to protest the government’s crackdown following an attempted coup.
Turkey has arrested more than 50,000 people since the failed coup and fired at least 110,000 others from government jobs. The crackdown was initially launched to deal with alleged coup-plotters, but critics say it has expanded to include other government opponents, such as academics, journalists and legislators.
This story has been corrected to give the name of Berberoglu’s party as the Republican People’s Party, not People’s Republican Party.