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Turkey seeks up to 20 years for opposition politician jailed on espionage charges

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Turkish prosecutors are seeking a prison sentence of up to 20 years for defense analyst and Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) politician Metin Gürcan, who was jailed in November on charges of political and military espionage, Deutsche Welle Turkish edition reported on Thursday.

Gürcan, a former member of the Turkish military, was one of the co-founders of the DEVA Party led by Ali Babacan, a former deputy prime minister from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

He was detained in a police raid at his house in İstanbul on Nov. 26 and was arrested pending trial on Nov. 29.

Gürcan is accused in an indictment of disclosing confidential information related to the state’s “security and political interests” and “acquiring confidential information of the state for political and military espionage” under Article 328 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). Gürcan disclosed state secrets to foreign officials, according to the indictment, which included photos and records of the technical and physical surveillance of the politician from his meetings and discussions with the foreign officials.

According to Gürcan’s testimony in the indictment, the politician denied the espionage charges, saying he began to write military and geostrategic analyses following his retirement from the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) for foreign publications based on publicly available sources.

The politician said he worked at the TSK for years after his retirement and has been offering consultancy services to various people and institutions since 2009.

Gürcan said he regularly met with foreign diplomats in Ankara and wrote analyses for them in return for payment.

Photos in the indictment show Gürcan meeting with a foreign diplomat in Ankara at a cafeteria and at a car park and receiving envelopes from them, which supposedly include money.

Gürcan’s indictment has been sent to the Ankara 26th High Criminal Court.

Before his arrest, Gürcan criticized the government’s agreements with the United Arab Emirates, arguing that Turkey would be forced to make concessions in return for investment pledged by the UAE.

During a visit to Ankara by Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed in November, the UAE announced a $10 billion fund for investments in Turkey.

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