Istanbul lawyers protest the draft law on bar associations

In Istanbul, lawyers have protested against the bill set to change the rules of the bar association. With the new law, the Turkish government wants to bring the entire judicial system into line.

In front of the Themis statue at the Courthouse in the Istanbul district of Çağlayan, lawyers protested against the draft law which is set to reorganise the Turkish bar associations. The draft law was passed by the Justice Committee in the Turkish Parliament on Tuesday and is to be presented to the National Assembly today.

Lawyers in Istanbul criticized that the new regulation destroys the right of defence and the function of the bar associations and that the government wants to restructure bar associations with its own supporters. Among others, the vice-president of the Istanbul Bar Association, Nazan Moroğlu, took part in the protest action against the "multiple bar coup". The protest will continue in front of the Bar Association at 7pm.

The draft law introduced by the Turkish government provides for the establishment of new chambers as an alternative to the existing bar associations in the 81 provinces of Turkey. This is intended to break the monopoly of the bar association and, after the courts and public prosecutors' offices, to bring the defence on AKP/MHP line. Lawyers critical of Turkish President Erdoğan are the majority in all bars now.

The bar associations have been protesting against the planned new regulation for weeks. In June, a march to Ankara took place, which was violently obstructed by the police.