03 September 2019 15:08

Separation of powers destroyed say bar associations in statements at judicial complexes not the Palace

Members of 52 bar associations, including Ankara, Diyarbakır and Izmir, which boycotted the new judicial year opening ceremony held at the Presidential Palace, made press statements in front of judicial complexes.

Photograph: Murat Çetinmühürdar/AA


Members of 52 bar associations, including Ankara, Diyarbakır and Izmir, which boycotted the new judicial year opening ceremony held by the Court of Cassation Presidency at the Presidential Palace, made press statements in front of judicial complexes.

Ankara Bar Association, which boycotted the venue and did not attend the judicial year opening ceremony at the Presidential Complex in Beştepe, made a press statement in front of Ankara Judicial Complex. Ankara Bar Association Chair Erinç Sağkan made the statement, at which bar association lawyers were also in attendance.

Noting that basic rights and freedoms had been destroyed in Turkey, Sağkan said, “An independent defence has in all periods of history been the antidote to duress, oppression and lawlessness. The chaotic legal order the country’s history has seen at moments of crisis is trending towards normalization through the restriction of the right of defence with decrees with the force of law and decrees as instruments. In Turkey, women, children, LGBTI+ individuals, animals, mountains and forests, in short all who are not the strong on the face of the earth, are thirsty for a justice without exception and lawyers are also among the justice that is thirsted for.”


Stressing that the judiciary must be independent, Sağkan declared, “We are confronted by the opening of a new judicial year. We will continue to struggle for the law on behalf of the law with the robes we wear and our principles and courage that we make into an invisible armour for our robes. We lawyers are opposed to all kinds of oppression and patterns of oppression. We are also aware that our independent stance here today is the condition and precursor for the independence of the judiciary, as well as being our most sacred reason that gives us existence.”

Pointing to the independent judiciary as the reason for not attending the judicial year opening held at the Presidential Complex, Sağkan stated, “If a judicial year opening is absolutely to be held in a palace, this should be a palace of justice. A judicial year opening held under the roof of the executive harms the law. Was mention possible today in front of the President that that the right of expression had been restricted? Until judicial independence is attained, no problem will be solved.”


Diyarbakır Bar Association also held a press statement in front of Diyarbakır Judicial Complex at the opening of the judicial year. Diyarbakır Bar Association Chair Cihan Aydın, who made the address here, said, “The judiciary that has lost its impartiality and independence and has been severely wounded in terms of security of tenure for judges and the inability for a reaction to be developed and the veritable bowing of heads in the face of this situation show that we will be unable to surmount this problem in the short term. Never mind resolving the country’s problems, the judiciary has itself become part of the problem. The Turkish judiciary’s most chronic problem is its mental and physical proximity to the ruling block.

Noting that despite the passage of three years and nine months since the murder of former Diyarbakır Bar Association Chair Tahir Elçi no suspect has even emerged in connection with the murder, Aydın said that despite the expert report the bar association had submitted to the investigating authority with its own means the policy of depenalization in this case continued.

Indicating that gynocide and child abuse had now become an ordinary part of life, Aydın remarked, “With the state supposed to be striving to implement Law number 6284 and the Istanbul Convention, propaganda is made in opposition to this protection-affording legislation. Law enforcement agencies, prosecutors and judges must be trained and expert law enforcement units and specialized prosecutions and courts must be set up in the matter of gynocide and child abuse.”


Stressing the regulation made under decrees with the force of law during the state of emergency had paved the way to appointing trustees to municipalities, Aydın said, “Trustees were appointed to 94 municipalities in 2016. Provincial governors have been appointed as trustees to Diyarbakır, Mardin and Van Metropolitan Municipalities which the HDP retook in the local elections held in 2019. We do not accept and condemn this administrative coup that treats the will of the people with contempt and totally eliminates faith in democracy and the supremacy of the law. We announce from here that we will apply to national and international legal mechanisms against this unjust and unlawful implementation. This procedure that was instituted based on the provision of a decree with the force of law issued in the state of emergency period must be retracted and the elected mayors must immediately be restored to their posts.”


Noting that one of the predominant reasons for this grave state of affairs is the spiral of violence and policy of non-solution in the Kurdish issue, Aydın stated that the living in peace of peoples was under threat with purely security-based approaches, intolerance towards Kurdish, policies of depenalization, the appointing of trustees and the detaining of politicians. Indicating that one of the most important gains until now had been the hope that emerged in society regarding the solution of the Kurdish issue with means apart from violence, Aydın commented, “To reinvigorate this hope that has turned to ashes, the parties to the solution must create the conditions for Kurds to cohabit regardless of the geographical space they inhabit with an egalitarian and libertarian method. Peace must be demanded with insistence and persistence.”


In Izmir the judicial year opening ceremony was conducted at the entrance to the Izmir Judicial Complex protocol door. The ceremony was attended by Izmir Bar Association Chair Özkan Yücel, Attorney-at-Law, Izmir Republic Chief Prosecutor Kamil Erkut Güre, Izmir Judicial Justice Commission Chair İbrahim Korkmaz, Provincial Police Chief Hüseyin Aşkın and judges, prosecutors and lawyers.

Making an address here, Izmir Bar Association Chair Özkan Yücel, Attorney-at-Law, spoke of the impossibility of ensuring justice without lawyers and an independent judiciary and continued his speech as follows:

“We are most certainly not here just for ourselves. For example, we are here for the rights of the citizen in the street, and we are the voice of those whose rights have been usurped at the ballot box and are struggling because their votes count for nothing when the votes they cast are not reflected at the ballot box. We are the voice of the peace advocates who were murdered on 10 October. We are the voice of the workers who were burnt hundreds of metres underground in Soma. We are the voice of those who fall victim to work manslaughter. We are the voice of women who are screaming, “We don’t want to die” and who are murdered in the street every day in a country in which there are more than eight thousand women in women’s refuges. Of Ayşe Paşalı, Şule Çet, Münevver Karabulut, Özgecan, Emine Bulut and thousands of unnamed women.

We are the voice of children who have suffered abuse. We are here to defend their rights. We are at the same time the voice of the children burnt in Aladağ, because all citizens actually have something to gain from justice. We, one of the legs of this stand, insist on telling the truth and chasing up the truth until the end. We will do this as lawyers. But we are aware that it is not possible to liberate others without our judges and prosecutors, struggling in unison and first liberating ourselves. (EVRENSEL DAILY)

(Translated by Tim DRAYTON)