Müzeyyen Yüce / DUVAR

Turkish bars have slammed the Turkish Bar Association for not requesting a judicial recess from the Justice Ministry, saying that the association should have consulted the bars first.

The association suggested not having a judicial recess or limiting it to 15 days, while the bars questioned whether it will be safe to go to courthouses amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Since reporting its first coronavirus case on March 11, Turkey has been adopting a series of measures, including those regarding the judiciary, such as postponing the hearings until April 30.

The association told the Justice Ministry that the workload will be increased after the self-isolation period ends, adding that the religious and national holidays until September will lead to a decrease in the number of workdays.

“It’s seen that the workload per day will be extensive when the national and religious holidays are also taken into account. Our suggestion is to not go on a judicial recess this year. If a recess is necessary, then it should be limited to 15 days,” the association said.

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Alpay Antmen, meanwhile, submitted a bill for the cancellation of the recess, saying that it would further hinder the people’s search for their rights when considering the days lost due to the break given over the pandemic.

In it’s bill, Antmen said that the judicial recess should be canceled if the pandemic wanes by then.

Bars, however, slammed the association for making such a proposal when the course of the pandemic is yet unknown.

“The association may have reached this conclusion after consulting various courthouses in Anatolia, but it should be known that at least 50,000 people enter the courthouse in Istanbul’s Kartal, with over 5,000 of those being lawyers. It’s impossible to arrange social distancing,” Istanbul Bar head Mehmet Durakoğlu told Duvar.

“Making this in a period that the danger posed by the coronavirus is ongoing is not different from murder,” he also said.

Ankara Bar head Erinç Sağkan pointed to the suggestions of the Health Ministry’s Science Commission, saying that the process needs to be shaped in accordance.

İzmir Bar head Özkan Yücel also slammed the association for not consulting the bars, saying that people need to see what’s ahead of them to file such requests.

Another bar head to comment on the issue was Polat Balkan from the southern province of Antalya, who said that there are plenty of lawyers who have been defending the removal of the judicial recess for many years.

“The fact that the courts are closed causes lawyers to go through tough times. However, there can be danger aspects to this demand in the coronavirus process. We will have a meeting on the issue,” Balkan said.