Bar association heads have launched a sit-in after police prevented them from entering the capital Ankara to end their Defense March. According to Mehmet Baran Selanik from İzmir Bar, a police officer punched Antep Bar head Bektaş Şarklı. Police also tried to detain Ordu Bar head Haluk Murat Poyraz, but lawyers prevented police from doing so.

Some 60 bar association heads have launched a sit-in after police prevented them from entering the capital Ankara to end their Defense March, as footage showed brawls.

The bar heads wanted to enter Ankara as part of their march that they launched on June 19 against increasing pressure from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

The move came after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s AKP intensified its efforts to amend the law on changing bar associations’ election systems in what critics say an effort to increase the number of pro-government figures in bars.

The issue came to the agenda after Ankara Bar Association slammed Turkey’s Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) for its remarks targeting LGBT individuals on Islamic grounds. The bar released a statement against the homophobic remarks, which was followed by Erdoğan calling for a change in their election system.

Several bar heads went live on Twitter to show police barricades and brawls.

At around the same time, Turkish Bar Association head Metin Feyzioğlu visited Anıtkabir, the mausoleum of Turkish Republic’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, alongside bar heads of Afyon, Ardahan, Iğdır, Ağrı, Konya, Elazığ, Sivas, Gümüşhane, Bayburt, Çorum, Yozgat, Kütahya, Edirne, Samsun, Erzurum and Kahramanmaraş.

Muğla Bar head Cumhur Uzun commented on Feyzioğlu’s visit, saying that he is making discrimination among bars.

Duvar.English – 22.06.2020

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