Dismissed opposition MP Berberoğlu returns to Turkish parliament

The Turkish parliament has restored the status of main opposition deputy Enis Berberoğlu, eight months after it was revoked along with two other deputies, daily Sözcü reported on Thursday.

An Istanbul court ruled to temporarily suspend Berberoğlu’s conviction on Monday following a Constitutional Court (AYM) ruling that his rights had been violated, euronews Turkish reported.

Berberoğlu’s status as a deputy for the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), and his parliamentary immunity, was restored when the ruling was read out at a general assembly session.

However, Berberoğlu will still face trial after his term in office is over for revealing confidential information with the purpose of political or military espionage in relation to the release of footage allegedly showing Turkish intelligence transporting weapons and ammunition to Syrian jihadist groups.

The footage was published by Cumhuriyet in 2015, leading to the prosecution of the newspaper’s editor-in-chief Can Dündar and Ankara correspondent Erdem Gül

Berberoğlu was originally sentenced to 25 years in prison. The ruling was later overturned by the AYM, and a retrial saw him given a sentence of 5 year and 10 months.

But the outcome of the retrial was ignored by a lower court, leading Berberoğlu to appeal to the AYM again.

The lower court’s initial refusal to comply led to a crisis at the country’s top court, when a tweet by an AYM judge was interpreted by government officials as plotting for a military coup.

“Mr Berberoğlu’s trial was between acquittal and life in prison,” CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu told reporters. “Some courts ruled for life in prison, others for acquittal. Imagine the kind of understanding, the kind of influence there!”

The opposition leader said “justice prevailed in the end” over political power, Cumhuriyet reported.

“We welcome Enis Berberoğlu back to Parliament,” pro-Kurdish opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Deputy Group Chairwoman Meral Danış Beştaş said in parliament. “But this ruling has once again revealed our old discrimination issue.”

Beştaş said HDP deputies Musa Farisoğulları and Leyla Güven, who had been similarly stripped of their parliamentary status, were convicted on trumped-up charges by judges and prosecutors “who are all currently in prison and dismissed from their professions”.

Farisoğulları and Güven are also in prison, serving the sentences that led to their dismissal.