Newly formed Ankara 2nd Bar Association investigated for membership discrepancy

The Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) is investigating how the newly formed Ankara 2nd Bar Association has been approved despite having less than 2,000 lawyers.

This file photo shows founding members of the Ankara 2nd Bar Association.

Duvar English

Despite applying for registration with 2,069 members, the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TTB) has revealed after an investigation that Ankara's 2nd Bar Association has just 1,702 registered members.

In total, including those not registered, the organization has just 1,906 members. 

The TTB is newly run by government critic Erinç Sağkan, former Ankara Bar Association chair, and has taken a harsher stance against government corruption, vowing to maintain rule of law. The Union is now questioning how it previously approved Ankara's 2nd Bar Association despite the discrepancies in its membership.

The TTB also uncovered that on the list of 1,906 people provided by Ankara's 2nd Bar Association at the beginning of the investigation, 14 people did not qualify for registration, 1 person had become a judge, 101 people were not officially registered, 30 people had been removed, 3 people had died, and 55 people had requested to leave the Bar.

The TTB has given the newly formed bar association six months to increase its numbers to 2,000, the minimum number of advocates required. 

Turkish parliament passed a law in 2020 on changing the structure of bar associations, a move that lawyers say further undermines judicial independence in the country. 

The law says that in provinces with over 5,000 lawyers, any group of at least 2,000 lawyers can set up their own bar association.

After the move, a group of pro-government lawyers established their own bar associations in Istanbul and Ankara.