Turkish parliament passes disputed bar associations law

13 July 2020
116 Views

Turkey’s parliament passed a law on Saturday on changing the structure of bar associations, a move that lawyers argue will further undermine judicial independence in a country where they say the judiciary is already in disarray.

Thousands of lawyers have protested in Istanbul, Ankara and other cities against the plan, saying it aims to silence some of the few institutions still speaking out against the government’s record on rule of law and human rights.

The legislation allows multiple bar associations to be formed in each province, in place of the current system where each province has a single association, diluting the institutions’ power.

A lawmaker for President Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party, Cahit Ozkan, said last week the law was needed because bar associations were no longer able to function properly following a 13-fold increase in the number of lawyers in Turkey since the previous law came into effect.

Opponents say it will strengthen small provincial bars at the expense of the large associations in the main cities. The larger associations currently predominate and are frequently critical of the government.

These associations say the judicial system has descended into chaos in recent years with lawyers jailed, defences muzzled and confidence in judges and prosecutors destroyed.

The law was passed with 251 votes in favour in the 600-seat parliament, with only 417 MPs voting. The AK Party has 291 seats in the assembly, while its nationalist MHP allies have 49 seats.

The legislation “appears calculated to divide the legal profession along political lines and diminish the biggest bar associations’ role as human rights watchdogs,” Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists said.

Muharrem Erkek, deputy leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party, said the new law would erode and polarise the legal profession.world

“Their aim is to create partisan bar associations. If you weaken the bars, if you divide them, the citizens will suffer harm,” he said shortly before parliament began debating the bill on Wednesday.

Source: Reutersa

You may be interested

Turkey’s AKP “to submit bill to curb widespread use of English”
DEFENCE
shares23 views
DEFENCE
shares23 views

Turkey’s AKP “to submit bill to curb widespread use of English”

Panos - Aug 05, 2020

According to a report from the Turkish newspaper Duvar, the Turkish Language Association (TDK) has been seeking to cut the…

Covid-19 Greece – 121 new cases reported
GREECE
shares48 views
GREECE
shares48 views

Covid-19 Greece – 121 new cases reported

Panos - Aug 05, 2020

Another 121 cases of the Cpvid-19 virus were announced by the National Public Health Organisation (EODY), shortly before the briefing…

Beirut Explosion: Two Greeks injured, information for one fatality
GREECE
shares21 views
GREECE
shares21 views

Beirut Explosion: Two Greeks injured, information for one fatality

Panos - Aug 05, 2020

Two Greeks are among the thousands injured in yesterday’s blast in Beirut that shocked the world. In the last hour,…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.