Turkey: Entitled to an Explanation

Entitled to an Explanation

The defendant in the dimly lit Ankara courtroom last week was expressionless as the prosecutor called for a verdict of not guilty. Bulent Ecevit, three- time Prime Minister of Turkey between 1974 and 1979, had been charged with engaging in political activity, which under a 1982 decree is illegal for former party leaders. But the prosecutor accepted Ecevit's argument that he had been entitled to explain his choice of a political party when he spoke in May at a convention of the party founded by his wife Rahsan.

The not-guilty verdict, demonstrating what Ecevit last week described as the "obvious contradictions"...

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