Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) will take a recently approved law that allows for the release of tens of thousands of inmates to the Constitutional Court over its discrimination of political prisoners.
The announcement was made during a press conference by CHP group deputy chair Engin Özkoç on April 14. Özkoç said that the party will continue its struggle for the law to include politicians, academics, journalists and writers jailed on what he said were “thought crimes.”
He said that the law attempts to “release thieves, swindlers, those inflicting violence, those who committed bribery, gangsters, those running illegal gambling operations, those pushing people into prostitution and those inflicting violence on women, while people jailed for their thoughts will be kept incarcerated.”
“This law is against the concept of equality. The scales in the hands of justice should be balanced. If a discrimination is undertaken, the balance of the scales is broken. Just because a person is an academic and speaks in favor of peace, just because a person is against the government, they will be kept in the prison, but then those who are serving their sentences for offenses which I have just indicated will be released,” he said.
Turkey’s parliament on April 14 passed a law that will allow the release of tens of thousands of prisoners to stem the spread of the coronavirus, but which critics slam for excluding those jailed on terrorism charges, mainly journalists, writers and politicians.
The opposition points out that “terror” has taken on a broad meaning in Turkey, essentially used as a way to criminalize any opponent of the government.