Today is April 5th Lawyers’ Day. We, young lawyers from the Unconditional Justice Movement, welcome a day of lawyers in an environment of unlawfulness, human rights violations and attacks on lawyers.. In this day when we should celebrate, we have been experiencing the same bitterness in recent years.
- In an atmosphere where the most basic human rights are disregarded and opponents are suppressed by the judiciary, we are witnessing that the practice of lawyers, which has become the last guarantee of human rights and freedoms, has become difficult with the pressures in recent years.
- Our profession is tried to be discredited by the pressures of the political power. Our colleagues are subjected to accusations completely devoid of legal basis and are identified with their clients, and the government demands that the climate of fear that has collapsed like a nightmare in Turkey will spread to lawyers.
- In Turkey, where being a lawyer requires a real struggle, lawyers are arrested for defending their clients, that is, for acting as a lawyer, and they are killed while carrying out foreclosure as a result of the political government’s discrediting the profession in the eyes of the public. Lawyers commit suicide due to economic concerns as they do not have professional security.
- In the new lawless regime, the unity between lawyers is undermined. For this purpose, the law was amended by taking the illegitimate TBB president, without considering the bar associations and lawyers, and the bar associations in big cities were divided. The pressure on public lawyers to “change their bar association” has intensified. This mentality, which forces lawyers to choose between their professions and their bar associations, is both anti-democratic and an extension of the ignorance of the concept of “public”. Taking aside the defense is part of the government’s plan to design the judiciary entirely on its own.
- While the meetings of the ruling party are held in halls of thousands of people, the illegitimate general assembly, which should be held in October 2020 in order to extend the term of the current TBB president, has been postponed for months.
- Today, the licenses of our lawyer friends are hijacked just because they are opponents in Turkey. Thousands of lawyers who could not obtain a license due to the ongoing investigations, even though they completed their internship, were almost left to die civilians.• In Turkey, where being a lawyer requires a real struggle, lawyers are arrested for defending their clients, that is, for acting as a lawyer, and they are killed while carrying out foreclosure as a result of the political government’s discrediting the profession in the eyes of the public. Lawyers commit suicide due to economic concerns as they do not have professional security.
- Our colleagues are identified with their clients due to the lawsuits they follow; Therefore, they are accused, investigated, prosecuted; they are even convicted. In the last five years, more than 1,500 lawyers were tried, more than 600 lawyers were arrested, 450 lawyers were sentenced to a total of 2786 years in prison for membership of an armed terrorist organization or for making terrorist propaganda.
- Our colleagues are exposed to obstructions and attacks in courthouses, courtrooms and prisons as a view of the government’s practices of discrediting the attorney profession while carrying out their professional activities. Law of Attorney, “Judicial bodies, law enforcement authorities, other public institutions and organizations are obliged to assist lawyers in the performance of their duties.” Its clear and mandatory regulation is violated. We do not accept this policy of intimidation against defense. It should not be forgotten that every attack on a lawyer is an attack on the citizen’s right to access the judiciary.
- Instead of celebrating on the day we should celebrate, we commemorate our colleague Tahir Elçi, who was brutally murdered before our eyes and whose perpetrator has not been found for five and a half years. We commemorate our friend Ersin Arslan, who was killed by treason in the place of foreclosure while performing his professional activities last month. We know that these are not isolated issues and are the result of the policy on the lawyer profession.
As the Unconditional Justice Movement, we celebrate the day of our lawyers who keep alive our hope that justice will one day be manifested in Turkey. We demand that lawyers in prison be released unconditionally, the pressure on lawyers be eliminated and an environment where lawyers can perform their professional activities without being exposed to any danger or obstacle be built.