CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu visits jailed TİP MP Can Atalay

Turkish main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has visited TİP MP Can Atalay who is still kept in prison despite being elected as a lawmaker.

Main opposition CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (L) and imprisoned TİP MP Can Atalay's photo being displayed in the Parliament (R)

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Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu on July 12 paid a visit to Can Atalay, the imprisoned lawmaker of the Workers' Party of Turkey (TİP).

After the visit in the Marmara Prison, previously known as Silivri Prison, Kılıçdaroğlu said Atalay wants to go to the southern Hatay province where he was elected to visit earthquake victims as the first thing after his release.

“No one can imprison a lawmaker elected by the votes of the nation, a lawmaker who has not been convicted,” Kılıçdaroğlu said, calling for Parliament Speaker Numan Kurtulmuş to take initiative on the issue. 

Kılıçdaroğlu said Atalay was approved by the Supreme Election Council (YSK) to become a lawmaker and that his sentence is not finalized yet. 

“Atalay said that he and his friends are determined to defend the republic and democracy in any case,” the 74-year-old leader added.

Atalay, lawyer by profession, was arrested on April 25, 2022 after being sentenced to 18 years in prison in the Gezi trial but his sentence has not been finalized yet in the top appeals court. Despite being elected as a lawmaker from the southern Hatay province in the May 14 elections and receiving parliamentary mandate, Atalay is still imprisoned.

In his written opinion (“tebliğname”), the chief public prosecutor's office of the Court of Cassation submitted a negative opinion on the release of Can Atalay, arguing that he was convicted on the charge of “attempting to overturn the government” which is why he can’t be granted parliamentary immunity.