January 30, 2018
An opposition lawmaker in Turkey revealed on Tuesday that authorities had arrested 572 lawyers during the one and a half year-long state of emergency in place since a failed military coup to topple the administration of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Senal Sarihan told a press conference at the Turkish Parliament that of the lawyers arrested, 488 faced maltreatment in police custody, as 79 of them were given prison sentences.
Reports from mid-2016 onward show that the majority of lawyers detained were accused of membership in “terrorist organizations” among them the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that is fighting the Turkish state over Kurdish self-rule, the US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen’s movement which opposes the government, and far-left groups.
The government has extended the nationwide state of emergency—unseen since the 1980 military coup—six times already.
Sarihan said that Erdogan’s government was violating lawyers’ internationally-enshrined rights for merely doing their job.
“We call on the judiciary to take action for the freedom of those unjustly detained,” Sarihan said, according to Kurdistan 24’s Ankara bureau.