Turkey: Opposition politician arrested for alleged espionage

Turkey’s state-run news agency says authorities have arrested a prominent member of an opposition party on charges of involvement in “political and military espionage”.

Anadolu agency said late Monday that a court in Ankara ordered Matin Gurkan, a retired army officer and founding member of the opposition Democracy and Progress Party, or DEVA, to remain in prison until the outcome of the trial.

Gurkan, who writes articles on Turkey’s foreign policy and defense issues, founded the DEVA party last year with its leader Ali Babakan – a former deputy prime minister who split from the ruling party of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

According to Hurriyat newspaper and other media reports, the politician and defense analyst is accused of selling alleged secret information to foreign diplomats. Reports said Gurkan refuted the allegations during interrogation.

A trial date is expected to be set after the court approves the prosecution’s indictment against Gurkan.

Babakan defended Gurkan in a late night television interview, saying the analyst had “no means of accessing confidential information that is considered a state secret because he does not work for the state.”

“(Gurkan’s) study includes information compiled from open sources,” Babakan said.

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