A Turkish court jailed pending trial Metin Gurcan, a founder of the Turkish opposition Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), over “political and military espionage,” a state-run news agency said on Monday.
Gurcan, a retired member of the Turkish Armed Forces, helped establish DEVA with Ali Babacan, a former deputy prime minister and minister under President Tayyip Erdogan. Gurcan is also a defense analyst.
State-owned Anadolu Agency said police asked Gurcan about his contacts with foreign diplomats based in the Turkish capital Ankara. The court was not immediately available for comment.
In a televised interview on Monday, Babacan said his party backed Gurcan and its lawyers would support him “until the end.” The party was yet to find out about the details of the investigation, Babacan said.
“Gurcan’s work is based on open sources. He does not have access to state secrets,” Babacan said.
Last week, Babacan said the detention of Gurcan was an attempt at diverting attention from the economic crisis, marked by the currency plunging to all-time lows.
The lira has lost as much as 25% of its value since the beginning of last week over concerns about aggressive interest rate cuts backed by Erdogan.
Polls show support for DEVA, founded in March 2020, around 2%, while support for Erdogan and his AK Party are at multi-year lows. Turks have cited economic mismanagement among the main factors.
DEVA and other opposition parties have called for urgent elections amid the lira meltdown, but the government has said presidential and general elections would be held as planned in June 2023. [Reuters]