DSP leader defends Erdoğan's move to pardon Hizbullah executive serving life sentence

Democratic Left Party (DSP) chair Önder Aksakal has defended President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s decision to pardon Mehmet Emin Alpsoy, known as the “military wing leader” of the now-defunct Islamist armed group Hizbullah, which was the precursor to HÜDA-PAR.

Duvar English

The Democratic Left Party, which recently joined the ruling alliance, has defended President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s move to pardon prisoner Mehmet Emin Alpsoy, a Hizbullah member who was serving aggravated life imprisonment.

DSP leader Önder Aksakal said that it is the “constitutional right” of the President to pardon prisoners and criticism with regards to this issue was instrumentalized and turned into “political material.”

“This is a constitutional right. The President can use this (presidential pardon) when they desire. Can they use this for (jailed Kurdistan Workers’ Party leader) Abdullah Öcalan tomorrow? Well, they might,” Aksakal said on May 3 on Sözcü TV.

Aksakal said that the presidential pardon was also used by former presidents and continued: “The President can’t say, ‘Let this person die because he is from HÜDA-PAR or PKK.’ It was again Erdoğan who pardoned those tried in the Ergenekon (case).”

In a May 2-dated presidential decree, Erdoğan pardoned four prisoners, including the 71-year-old Alpsoy who was said to have “aged.” Turkish newspapers referred to Alpsoy as Hizbullah’s “military wing leader” and said that the Hizbullah convict tortured and killed three people in the capital Ankara in the 1990s and then hid corpses in the basement of his brother's house.

Erdoğan’s presidential pardon came after the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Islamist Free Cause Party (HÜDA-PAR) became allies for the upcoming elections.

In December 2012, some Hizbullah members formed the HÜDA-PAR with the government's support, which allowed the party to enter politics.