The Members of Parliament posed many questions to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan about the latest arrests in the context of the Ergenekon investigation and the 10 percent election threshold. In his speech at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), PM Erdoğan compared the unpublished book "The Imam's Army" written by arrested journalist Ahmet Şık to a bomb.
"They are not tried because of journalism"
Erdoğan said that statements regarding restrictions of the media did not reflect the truth.
Read here what Erdoğan mentioned in his speech at the assembly in Strasbourg (France) as reported by Radikal newspaper.
'26 journalists are detained in Turkey. None of them is being detained on the grounds of his/her journalistic activities. We want to learn more about recent incidents not from certain circles but from more objective sources. These journalists are being tried because of their affiliation to various terror organizations and putschists.
There is no way to intervene into the executive process at this point, the judiciary is independent. In occasional statements of the judiciary we get to know that different documents emerged during the period of detention. It is my desire to clarify these immediately.
We are sensitive about the long periods of detention and we want to solve these cases immediately'.
"It is a crime to use a bomb and to use the necessary components for a bomb"
One of the Members of Parliament asked about the seizure of the unpublished book "The Imam's Army". Erdoğan was furthermore criticized because his delegation did not include a woman representative.
'I came here together with two ministers, and female colleagues are here, too. Thoughts free of prejudice are very important.
It was not me who gave the decision for the seizure of that reportedly unpublished book. It is a crime to use a bomb and to use the components a bomb is made of. Are the police not going to step in if they receive the information about the construction of a bomb? So if there was according information, the judiciary gave the decision and told the police to go and take it.
The book was posted on the internet and we could see what happened. This was a decision taken by the judiciary and not by the executive. When you are concerned you call the judiciary independent. When Turkey is concerned, you say that the judiciary depends on the executive. Yet, the judiciary in Turkey is independent, it does not depend on the executive'.
"We came to power with the election threshold as well"
'I am a leader who went to jail for reading out a poem. I was in prison for four months. When I came out, we founded our party and won the elections. We have been in power for the last 8.5 years with the courtesy of my people.
There was the ten percent election threshold when we founded our party but we passed it. Our policies were not right or left or at any other end. We addressed everybody at the centre.
The Roma were expelled from France, I see that there was no personal freedom of belief. They should first clean in front of their own house before they blame Turkey for anything.
Ten percent are not relevant to democracy. There are election thresholds of seven to eight percent in Europe. We said that the election threshold has to stay for democracy and also our people replied to that.
There were problems with the previous political powers and coalition governments. If we wanted to decrease this threshold, we would not ask you but our people and then act accordingly. This decision is going to be given by Turkey'. (EKN/VK)