Müzeyyen Yüce / DUVAR
Police on July 9 formed barricades around bar association heads who staged a sit-in at the central Kuğulu Park in the capital Ankara in protest of a bill that seeks to restructure the bar association system.Ankara police use tear gas, shields against lawyers protesting decentralization of bar associations
A June 30 draft bill presented to the parliamentary Justice Commission by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) seeks to allow the establishment of multiple bar associations in each province, which legal experts say is an attempt to divide, scatter and control the judicial organizations.
The Ankara Bar Association noted that discussion on the bill had started despite protest signatories from 80 bar associations in the country.
"We will be in Ankara Kuğulu Park for as long as the bill is being discussed in parliament to show our disdain and raise our voice against this proposal," said a statement released by the Ankara Bar Association on July 9.
The bar urged all lawyers to join the sit-in protest and to sign a petition against the bill.
Meanwhile, police officers circled the bar association heads at the Kuğulu Park and blocked entries to the area.
Lawyers who came to the park in support of the bar associations protested the police's blockade.
"This is proof that we are a police state," İzmir Bar President Özkan Yücel said.
Ankara Bar President Erinç Sağkan also said that the police blockade around the bar association heads was illegal.
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Istanbul deputy Mahmut Tanal tried to remove the police blockades to enter the park, saying that Kuğulu Park couldn't be closed off to the public.
Tanal managed to remove some of the barriers off the area. At this point, a group of lawyers passed over to the side where bar association heads were waiting. Lawyers at the scene shouted slogans of "Open the park."