European lawyers express solidarity with Turkish Bar Associations
The European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights (ELDH) expresses its grave concern at the news that a peaceful demonstration of the presidents and other members of almost 60 Bar Associations was blocked by the police, without any legal ground, from entering Ankara. The Turkish lawyers were not only prevented from making use of their right to freedom of assembly, but they were encircled by barriers, kept under de facto detention, and forced to stay over the night in open air in the rain without shelter. The police did not allow other lawyers to give food and warm clothes to the presidents, and in several cases used excessive force to stop the protesters.
The presidents and other members of bar associations departed for Ankara from various provinces on 19 June 2020 to demonstrate against a planned amendment by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to the Law on Advocates. They were not allowed to walk 200 metres to the border of Ankara where buses were waiting to take them to the city center. Obviously the police on instructions from the government also wanted to prevent presidents from publicising their demands to the public and intended to criminalise the event.
- ELDH declares: This police intervention is a blatant violation of the prohibition of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment, the rights to liberty and security, freedom of expression, and freedom of peaceful assembly and association which are protected by Turkish Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.
- ELDH calls upon the Turkish government to hold the responsible minsters and police officers accountable.
- ELDH calls upon the European Union and its members states to act, not to make themselves complicit in such a gross violation of the rule of law.