Ankara Bar Association: Lawyers under investigation face rights violations

The Ankara state prosecutor's office has launched investigations into 48 lawyers and 12 others in the legal sector. The Ankara Bar Association described the investigations as intimidation, saying that Turkish authorities are trying to identify lawyers with their clients.

Duvar English

Investigations have been launched against 48 lawyers by Ankara prosecutors on suspicion of terror charges, and the Ankara Bar Association has said that the lawyers' rights have been violated in the process. 

“The houses of the suspected lawyers were searched without calling the representatives of the bar association, resulting in a clear violation of the law. According to the information obtained from the lawyers, the searches started around 5:15 a.m., and phones were seized at dozens of addresses without allowing the lawyers to call their lawyers,” the bar association said in a statement. 

The bar association also claims that other devices, including memory cards and computers, were seized from the lawyers in an illegal fashion. 

“The confiscation process is required if the content is examined and its relation with the accusation is determined, but confiscation without this determination is clearly unlawful,” the association said. 

Lawyers known for left-wing, pro-Kurdish and opposition stances who defend suspects accused of terror charges are frequently targeted by the authorities and face terror charges themselves, which critics say are baseless and a common tactic of persecution. 

Mustafa Yeneroğlu, a former ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) who left the party and joined the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), an opposition party launched last year by former Prime Minster Ahmet Davutoğlu, said that the investigations against the lawyers are in violation of the law. 

“The aim of punishing the attorneys, suspects and defendants simply due to their professional practices within the scope of their defense is clearly trampling upon the law,” Yeneroğlu said.