Turkish opposition figures to testify in harassment case

Baykal is set to testify as a witness to an Ergenekon prosecutor with regard to a recently exposed attempt to conspire against him.

Turkish opposition figures to testify in harassment case

World Bulletin / News Desk

Former Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal is set to testify as a witness to an Ergenekon prosecutor with regard to a recently exposed attempt to conspire against him. Current CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu will also testify as a witness in the same case.

On Monday, Zekeriya Öz, the chief prosecutor overseeing the investigation into Ergenekon, a clandestine criminal network charged with plotting to overthrow the government, summoned Baykal and Kılıçdaroğlu to testify about allegations that Baykal had harassed an Odatv reporter and that the reporter sought to use this incident against the politician with Kılıçdaroğlu's help. The prosecutor also called CHP Deputy Chairman Gürsel Tekin to testify as a witness in a directive he sent to the Ankara Prosecutor's Office asking for the interrogation of the three politicians.

The reporter was detained earlier this month as part of the probe into Ergenekon but was later released. After an interrogation by civilian prosecutors, the reporter, İklim Kaleli Bayraktar, publicly said she had been sexually harassed by the former CHP leader during an interview in January and that she later sought the support of Kılıçdaroğlu in a plot against Baykal. Kılıçdaroğlu refused to help her but reportedly told her that she could do it on her own. Bayraktar also said she had discussed the issue with Tekin.

Claims about Öz's plans to interrogate the three emerged last Friday. CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu said in a television program broadcast on STV that he plans to send his lawyer to the prosecutor's office to represent him. When asked about the allegations on Friday, Tekin said he would testify once the official summons reaches him. However, Tekin criticized the prosecutor on Monday and accused the press organs that covered the allegations of distorting the incident.

CHP parliamentary group deputy chairman Kemal Anadol also targeted prosecutor Öz and accused him of acting politically rather than legally. "If he wanted to engage in politics, he should have resigned last week and joined the [Justice and Development Party] AK Party to run in the elections," he said, referring to March 10, the last day to resign from public institutions in order to run as prospective candidates in the June 12 elections. Anadol also argued that Öz was trying to include the CHP in the Ergenekon case.

Baykal left his post in May of last year after the emergence of a video clip posted online allegedly showing him having an affair with a party deputy. Since the emergence of the video clip, Baykal has persistently said he was the victim of a conspiracy against him. There are claims that the harassment case is a second attempt to conspire against the politician. The reason behind the conspiracy attempt against former CHP leader Baykal is thought to be his strong opposition to the sale of Halk TV, which is being administered by a team close to him. Odatv allegedly wanted to conspire against Baykal after he refused to sell Halk TV to Odatv.


Last Mod: 15 Mart 2011, 17:56
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