Turkish president criticizes lengthy detentions

ANKARA – Turkish President Abdullah Gul said Tuesday the new regulation reducing detention periods is timely and appropriate because lengthy trial periods already became a form of punishment.

Gul has recently approved regulations reducing the maximum period of detention from ten years to five. In a press conference on Tuesday, Gul said that such long detention periods are one of the most serious problems in Turkey.

“The Turkish public only discusses political cases. But there are other types of cases with no political dimension. We never heard about their complaints or sufferings but they actually exist,” Gul said.

An Istanbul High Criminal Court ordered the release of tens of detainees on Monday including Dursun Cicek, a retired Turkish army colonel, journalist Yalcin Kucuk and retired generals Sener Eruygur and Hasan Igsiz and a mafia leader Sedat Peker, based on a new law that went into effect last week ruling that anyone who has been in prison for five years without a final verdict on their case is to be released.

“Lengthy detentions turned into a form of punishment, and we need to eliminate them,” Gul said.

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