Gov’t spokesperson says identical uniforms for coup suspects may be enforced by decree

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Turkish Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesperson Bekir Bozdaü gives a speech during a press conference as the cabinet meeting continues in Ankara, Turkey on August 15, 2017. AFP

Deputy Prime Minister and government spokesperson Bekir Bozdağ said on Tuesday that identical uniforms designed for jailed suspects in trials concerning a failed coup last year may be enforced by a government decree that is to be announced in the coming days.

Speaking after a Cabinet meeting chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday, Bozdağ said the matter of identical uniforms can only be enforced by a law or government decree and that he expects that it will be included in the upcoming decree.

After noncommissioned officer Gökhan Güçlü, one of the suspects on trial for an assassination attempt against President Erdoğan on the night of the coup attempt on July 15, 2016, was thrown out of the courtroom on July 13 for wearing a T-shirt bearing the word “hero” on it, Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 31 that all suspects in ongoing failed coup trials were going to wear identical brown uniforms during court hearings.

Last week, Justice Minister Abdülhamit Gül said that if a proposed government regulation on uniforms for coup suspects were adopted, nearly 50,000 uniforms would be sewn by inmates and then sent to prisons holding suspects in cases involving followers of the Gülen movement.

Speaking on the issue in July, Turkish President Erdoğan said: “We recently spoke to Mr. Prime Minister. They should wear uniforms like they do at Guantanamo [prison] when going to court.”

More than a dozen people have been detained, with some of them arrested by the court, for wearing the T-shirts since July 13.

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