President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has signaled a possible regulation to expel lawyers from the profession should be accused of links to “terrorism.”
“If people working in other institutions can be dismissed from profession for supporting terror organizations, then we should be also discussing the introduction of this method for lawyers as well," Erdoğan told judges and prosecutors at a ceremony in the capital Ankara on Sept. 1.
“It is unacceptable for lawyers who advocate terrorists to also act like terrorists themselves. If they do so, they should pay the price. In nowhere on the world, such a crooked situation would be allowed. In the upcoming period, we will do what is necessary to block this road stretching out from attorneyship to terrorism,” Erdoğan said.
Erdoğan's comments came after a picture of lawyer Ebru Timtik was hung outside the headquarters of the Istanbul Bar Association on Aug. 28.
Ebru Timtik died in an Istanbul hospital on Aug. 27 after a 238-day hunger strike following her conviction last year for membership of a terrorist organisation. Timtik was demanding a fair trial, saying that her conviction had not been based in evidence.
She was a member of the Contemporary Lawyers' Association (ÇHD), a leftist group which the government accuses of having close ties to the outlawed Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C).EU 'deeply saddened' by lawyer Ebru Timtik's death
"It is very painful that the bars, which should be institutions of justice, turned into the backyard of terror organizations," Erdoğan said, adding that further measures would be taken to reform the bar associations.
Meanwhile, the Istanbul Bar Association released a statement on Aug. 29 saying that the move to hang Timtik's poster was not undertaken by them and happened “despite the officials of the association.” The bar association said that it was also them who had the poster removed.
The European Union said on Aug. 29 it was deeply saddened by the death of Timtik. The EU said she was the fourth prisoner to die this year as a result of a hunger strike.
"The tragic outcome of their fight for a fair trial painfully illustrates the urgent need for the Turkish authorities to credibly address the human rights situation in the country," it said.Lawyer Ebru Timtik loses life on 238th day of her death fast demanding fair trial