April 2, 2017
Lawyers and members of the judiciary have become the first group of professionals together with journalist which the Turkish government targeted as part of its crackdown on dissent.
Under the Turkish Code for Criminal Procedure, person may be detained for only 24 hours which may, where organised criminal activity is involved, be extended intermittently for a further 72 hours in three separate 24 hour periods. Anyone arrested is entitled to access to a lawyer of his choice from the time he is arrested. With a number of decrees which the cabinet of ministers issued following the declaration of state of emergency a few days after the failed coup attempt extended the time which one might be held in custody to 30 days and prevented arrested persons to have access to a lawyer in the initial five days of the same 30 day period.
When a person in custody finally allowed access to a lawyer he may not contact a lawyer of his choice. Instead, lawyers who seem to enjoy affiliating themselves with the ruling AKP are provided by bar associations as duty lawyers which practically denies the person in custody genuine legal assistance. All these deviations from the established rules of precedure lays bare Turkish government’s intention to prevent persons’ access to justice.
The Turkish government associates lawyers with their clients and arrests them on the same legal grounds as their clients. They also receive the same treatment as their clients when arrested, i.e. ill-treatment often amounting to torture and confiscation of property. Those who manage to flee persecution end up abroad mostly in dire financial difficulty and away from their spouses and children.