While the opposition parties CHP and HDP have denounced the prevention of bar association chairs from entering Ankara as part of their “Defense March,” lawyers have protested the prevention in several cities of Turkey.

As the bar association chairs marching to the capital city of Ankara in protest of the planned changes in Attorneys’ Act were prevented from entering the city, lawyers protested the prevention in İstanbul, İzmir, Adana, Mersin, Antep, Manisa and Bursa yesterday (June 22).

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Spokesperson Faik Öztrak and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Group Deputy Chair Saruhan Oluç have denounced the prevention of the police.

‘Defense cannot be silenced’

As reported by Evrensel, lawyers protested the prevention of bar association chairs from entering Ankara by police barricades by gathering in front of courthouses and bar associations in İstanbul, İzmir, Adana, Mersin, Antep, Manisa and Bursa and making statements for the press.

İn İstanbul, lawyers came together in front of İstanbul Bar Association in Beyoğlu. Calling on the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) Chair Metin Feyzioğlu to resign, the lawyers chanted the slogans, “Right, law, justice,” “Defense cannot be silenced,” “Defense has not hushed, it won’t hush” and “No liberation alone; either all together or none of us.”

İn İzmir, lawyers held a statement for the press in front of the C Block of İzmir Courthouse. Reading out the statement for the press on behalf of the lawyers, İzmir Bar Vice Chair Özgür Yılmazer indicated that “the attitude taken towards the bar associations chairs struggling for the rule of law were, in fact, intended as an intimidation to citizens.”

“We are, once again, calling out from here: We will not give up, we will not surrender, we will not obey,” Yılmazer stated further.

In Adana, lawyers held a sit-in protest in front of Adana Courthouse. In Antep, Mersin, Manisa and Bursa, lawyers also gathered in front of the courthouses and read out statements for the press in protest of the prevention.

‘The will of 100 thousand lawyers hindered’

HDP Group Deputy Chair Saruhan Oluç has also released a statement about the issue. “It is what bar association chairs are faced with in Turkey: The prevention of the police,” Oluç has protested and said:

“Who are they? Lawyers. So, they are the ones who use the right of defense, which is indispensable for a legal system. They are under a serious attack. A plain-clothes police officer battered the Chair of Antep Bar.

“None of these scenes is acceptable. Look, bar association chairs staged a sit-in protest in front of the police. What they wanted to do was to enter the capital of the country on foot. It is being prevented.

“What this prevention means is the following: There is no state of law in Turkey. It means that there is neither democracy nor human rights. It means that there is no freedom of thought and expression in Turkey. It means that the right to hold meetings and demonstrations cannot be used. This picture shows this. What is prevented is the will of 100 thousand lawyers.”

‘AKP has become a party against justice’

Oluç has also referred to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) within this context. “The government was attacking the law till today. It has now started attacking lawyers,” Oluç has protested and added: “What is hindered now is Constitutional rights. A party with ‘justice’ in its name is attacking justice. The ruling party has become a party against justice.”

‘TBB Chair has dealt a blow to the law’

Oluç has also criticized TBB Chair Metin Feyzioğlu “for siding with the government and acting like a spokesperson for the government, rather than fulfilling the demands of bar associations.” He has said, “With this act, Union of Turkish Bar Associations Chairs has dealt a heavy blow to the law and judiciary and he will be remembered with this blow from now on.”

‘It is a pitch-dark day’

Main opposition CHP Spokesperson Faik Öztrak has also touched upon the prevention of the police in his address to the reporters following the Central Executive Committee meeting yesterday (June 22).

“The government is trying to divide and break apart the bars associations. Almost all bar association chairs object to the planned amendment,” Öztrak has reminded the reporters and briefly stated the following:

“In order to express their reactions against it, bar association chairs want to go to the Memorial Tomb of Atatürk, but they were stopped by police barricades at the entrance of the capital city.

“There ensued a commotion between the lawyers and the police officers who abided by the unlawful order. It is a pitch-dark day in both the history Turkish democracy and the history of judiciary.

“A peaceful demonstration and march is not something to be bestowed upon by the state, it is the right of all citizens. The CHP will be on the side of real people of law who struggle for the rule of law and right of defense.”

Bianet – 23.06.2020

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