Duvar EnglishChamber of engineers and architects slams Erdoğan's plan to change professional bodies' election system
A total of 50 bars have released a statement to protest President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's planned shift in the bars' internal election system, saying that the proposed changes are "antidemocratic."
Following a row between the government and a number of bars over Religious Affairs Directorate (Diyanet) head Ali Erbaş's remarks targeting the LGBT community, Erdoğan said that changes should be made in the bars' election system.
In the statement, the bars, including of Istanbul, the capital Ankara and the western province of İzmir, said that they won't accept any changes that would damage the democratic structure of the bars, deem them dysfunctional and passive and that would impede free and independent defense.
They also said that their opinions were not asked on the draft bill being prepared by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).Gov't plans to change bars' election system amid rift over top religious official's homophobic remarks
"Preparing a draft bill via excluding the lawyers and bars is not just, rightful and appropriate, when they should be the ones consulted on the issue," the statement released on May 10 read.
"From the debates being carried out behind closed doors and without the opinions of the lawyers and bars, it can be understood that the bars' authorities will be significantly decreased. It can also be understood that the bill will strip the bars of the authority to file complaints," it added.
One of the changes sought by the AKP is the election of bars' administrations via proportional representation. The government also seeks to decrease the effectiveness of bars with a high number of lawyers, such as Ankara and Istanbul, in the Turkish Bar Associations elections.Association urges Turkey's top religious authority head to apologize for targeting LGBT individuals
"We don't accept the proposed changes since they are regressive and not progressive. The changes in the bill must be a red line for all the lawyers and citizens," the statement read, adding that the bars refuse all antidemocratic attitudes.
"We reiterate the need to stay away from interventions that deem the defense dysfunctional and tied to the government. The bars are among the most deep-rooted institutions of our republic. Hence, it's clear that any attempt to impede independent and free defense would contradict the founding philosophy of the republic," it added.
Saying that those who attempted to destroy the bars in the past have failed, the statement noted that the current attempt will not be forgotten by lawyers, citizens and the society.