Müzeyyen Yüce - Serkan Alan / DUVARAnkara governor’s office bans demonstrations ahead of bar associations' planned 'Great Defense Meeting'
The Justice Commission in Turkey’s parliament on July 2 started to discuss a government draft bill seeking to decentralize bar associations. Opposition members of the Commission slammed the decision to not allow bar association heads to partake in the discussions and said this move violates the rules of procedure.
“Why are bar association heads not present in a meeting which seeks to change the bars' management? How are you going to manage a session in which bar heads are not allowed in the parliament premises? We are demanding that representatives of bar associations and professional bodies are invited here and the Commission meeting is then held,” main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) group deputy chair Özgür Özel told the session.
İYİ (Good) Party group spokesperson Lütfü Türkkan also held the floor during the meeting saying the proposed legislation will result in a “parallel structure” in terms of how bar associations function and similarly demanded the participation of bar association heads in the discussions.
The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) deputy chair Meral Danış Beştaş slammed the Ankara governor's office decision to ban demonstrations in the province for two weeks ahead of the lawyers' “Great Defense Meeting,” saying the HDP is against the government's proposal to open the way to the establishment of alternative bar associations in each province.Parliamentary commission declines lawyers' demand to take part in discussions on bar associations bill
The Justice Commission's deputy chair Yılmaz Tunç, from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), said that no violation was undertaken with regards to “procedural rules” despite several objections pointing out that bar association heads were being made to wait outside parliament premises.
Presidents of seven bar associations on July 1 asked the Parliamentary Justice Commission to include them in discussions with regards to the government’s bill on bar associations. The Commission however turned down the demand without even citing a reason.
Twenty bar associations heads, including that of Istanbul, the capital Ankara and the southeastern province of Gaziantep, did not give up on their rights and appeared at the entrance of the parliament building on July 2, demanding to observe the discussions concerning them.
“We also have a right to be involved in a decision concerning bars. We do not accept any decisions to be taken unless we are present there. We will again demand to partake in the meetings,” Gaziantep bar association head Bektaş Şarklı said.Gov't bill to decentralize bar associations set to be submitted to Parliament on June 30
The police encircled the area where bar association heads are waiting with safety strips, confining them to an area of less than 20 square meters. HDP co-chair Mithat Sancar at one pointed visited the bar association heads, saying the AKP officials' decision to not let them inside the parliament building has “nothing to do” with the coronavirus measures.
Turkish Bars Association (TTB) head Metin Feyzioğlu in the meantime suggested that three bar association heads be included in the draft bill discussions. The senior lawyers turned down this suggestion, proposing instead that all 20 of them visit the Commission but only three get the floor to speak. AKP officials turned down the lawyers' demand, citing the coronavirus outbreak with an emphasis on “avoiding crowding.”
Meanwhile, benches were brought to the area where bar associations have been waiting for hours, but the police did not initially allow them to be placed at the cordoned-off area. CHP deputies slammed the police's action and they themselves carried the benches.