Turkish court releases defendants in assault case against opposition MP

A Turkish court on Wednesday ordered the release of all three defendants on trial over an attack against opposition Worker’s Party of Turkey (TİP) lawmaker Barış Atay, Diken news site reported.

Atay was attacked on Aug. 31 by a group of people in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district after Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu's comments targeting him. 

 Three people were taken into police custody over the incident, with a prosecutor demanding between one and a half to three years and 10 months in prison for the suspects on charges of “injuring and insulting a public servant.”

The Istanbul court on Wednesday ruled to release the defendants on parole, Diken said, while placing an international travel ban on the three suspects.  

On Aug. 30, Soylu said Atay was at the behest of the “rapist” leaders of the outlawed Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), an armed group fighting a decades-long insurgency against Turkey.

“Be careful! Do not get caught,” the minister told Atay.

Soylu’s remarks were in response to a Twitter post earlier during the day by Atay, calling Soylu “protector of serial rapists,” following for the release of a Turkish soldier charged with rape in a case that made national headlines.