February 2, 2019
The Hague Supreme Court
Brussels, Turkish Embassy
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February 2, 2019
The Hague Supreme Court
Brussels, Turkish Embassy
January 28, 2019
Turkey’s anti-democratic mentality has not changed since its foundation, but it has never been as oppressive as today, said award-winning Turkish human rights lawyer Eren Keskin.
Over the years, Keskin played a vital role in strengthening civil society awareness in Turkey. She became involved with the Human Rights Association (IHD) three years after its 1986 founding and headed its Istanbul branch for years.
She has been arrested and imprisoned numerous times, accused of terrorist ties for defending Kurdish rights, and won several international honors for her activism, including the Aachen Peace Award, the Theodore Haecker Prize, and just last year, the Helsinki Civil Society Award.
“Turkey’s undemocratic mentality has not changed since its foundation,” said Keskin. “There is no change in the mind or understanding of the state. I have been part of the struggle for human rights for nearly 30 years. I have not experienced a period in which freedom of thought and freedom of expression have been contravened this much. Turkey is more oppressive today than ever.”
Keskin said she had been brought before the courts more than 100 times and convicted on numerous occasions.
“I see the struggle for the defence of human rights as respect for those who have died. It is out of respect for them that I am part of the struggle for human rights,” she said. “We experienced a lot of pressure, but our friends were killed. They were killed fighting for human dignity. I am lucky to be alive…I was assaulted twice with firearms, imprisoned and threatened with death, but never gave up.”
January 29, 2019
Turkish lawyer Selçuk Kozağaçlı, the president of the now-closed Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD) who has been behind bars since November 2017 on terrorism charges, was allowed to attend the funeral of his father on Saturday in handcuffs.
The funeral of Kozağaçlı’s father, Ayhan Kozağaçlı, was held over the weekend in the central Turkish province of Konya. During the funeral Kozağaçlı’s left hand was handcuffed to the right hand of a person in civilian clothes, apparently a measure taken by the prison administration to prevent him from escaping.
The treatment received by Kozağaçlı attracted criticism on social media, with many interpreting it as the punishment of a lawyer due to his critical views of the government.
A tweet posted by the ÇHD, which was closed down by the Turkish government in the aftermath of a failed coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016, said: “Your handcuffs will not be sufficient. We will win.”
Kozağaçlı angered the government by representing two academics who were fired from their jobs by government decrees, victims of a mine disaster in Soma and many other persecuted people.
In a speech he made at the Ankara Bar Association’s general assembly on Oct. 16, 2016, Kozağaçlı revealed that people imprisoned as part of a government crackdown on the Gülen movement were being systematically tortured in the most barbaric ways including rape, removal of nails and the insertion of objects into their anuses.
January 25, 2019
Being dedicated to lawyers in Turkey, January 24 Day of the Endangered Lawyer has been marked by lawyers in İstanbul. Marching from Galatasaray Square to İstanbul Bar Association, lawyers said, “If lawyers lose their voice, citizens lose their breath.”
On January 24 Day of the Endangered Lawyers, which has been dedicated to lawyers in Turkey by the European Democratic Lawyers (AED), European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights (ELDH) and European Bar Human Rights Institute (IDHAE), lawyers marched from Galatasaray Square in Beyoğlu to İstanbul Bar Association.
The march, which was organized in protest against the attacks directed to lawyers in Turkey, was attended by a large number of people. Lawyers attended the march, wearing their robes.
Led by the İstanbul Bar Association, the protest march was supported by İstanbul Bar Association Chair Mehmet Durakoğlu, Adana Bar Association Chair Veli Küçük, Aydın Bar Association Chair Gökhan Bozkurt, Antalya Bar Association Chair Polat Balkan, Bursa Bar Association Chair Gürkan Altun, İzmir Bar Association Chair Özcan Yücel, Tekirdağ Bar Association Chair Sedat Tekneci, Hatay Bar Association Chair Ekrem Dönmez,Gaziantep Bar Association Chair Bektaş Şarklı, Mersin Bar Association Chair Bilgin Yeşilboğaz and Diyarbakır Bar Association Chair Cihan Aydın.
Since five lawyers were murdered in Spain by Francoists on January 24, 1977, this day has marked the “Day of the Endangered Lawyer.”
Throughout the march, the group attending the protest carried the photographs of journalist Uğur Mumcu, who was murdered on January 24, 1993, former Diyarbakır Bar Association Chair Tahir Elçi, who was murdered on November 28, 2015, and Progressive Lawyers Association (ÇHD) Chair Selçuk Kozağaçlı, who has been behind bars since September 17, 2018.
The group of people attending the march also chanted the slogans, “The advocacy has not kept silent and it will not do so”, “Right, law, justice” and “We are Tahir, we are Elçi, we are too numerous to be killed.”
University of Amsterdam with lawyer Ramazan Demir
University of Aberdeen
Dans le cadre de ses diverses manifestations 2019 autour de « la journée internationale des avocats en danger », l’IDHAE a présenté, comme il l’avait fait les années précédentes, un ouvrage complet sur la situation du pays concerné. Cette synthèse, établie conjointement avec l’IDHBB -(qui est intervenu constamment depuis 1985 au soutien des avocats turcs)- évoque les cas personnels de 248 avocats en Turquie depuis 2012. (Rappelons que 222 avocats ont été condamnés à de lourdes peines de prison depuis le 15 juillet 2016). Cette présentation officielle s’est déroulée, autour d’un long débat, présenté et animé par le bâtonnier Bertrand FAVREAU, président de l’IDHAE, et Guislaine SEZE, représentant Défenseurs Sans Frontières (DSF) dans la salle du conseil de l’Ordre du barreau de Bordeaux exceptionnellement mise à disposition pour la circonstance.
(L’Observatoire des Avocats Facebook, 26/01/19)
January 24, 2019
Today, the global bar groups rallied in support of the rule of law on the “International Day of the Endangered Lawyer.” The international effort is designed to draw attention to the thousands of lawyers and judges killed or imprisoned each year as they fight for basic legal rights in countries from China to Iran to Venezuela. However, no bar is more devastated than the one in Turkey where thousands of lawyers have been imprisoned and tortured for fighting the authoritarian regime of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Despite the praise from our president, Erdogan has continued a comprehensive campaign against the free press and political dissidents. This campaign however first required the elimination of thousands of lawyers to eradicate the rule of law to make way for his brutal religious-based authoritarian rule.
We previously discussed how Turkey’s rising dictator, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was likely to use the failed military coup to complete his objective to become a virtual dictator (backed by Islamist parties). That dire prediction appears to be fast becoming true with a roundup of thousands and the declaration of a state of emergency. Turkish academics have also been banned from leaving the country as well as the replacement of academic deans. Of course, Erdogan has offered his usual Orwellian rationization for the three-month state of emergency as necessary to protect civil liberties by suspending them “to eliminate the threat to democracy in our country, the rule of law, and the rights and freedom of our citizens.” With that, and the support of his Islamist allies who passed sweeping new powers for the budding Sultan, Erdogan suspended civil liberties in Turkey.
The impact on the Turkish bar has been horrific.
Udine, Camera Penale