Turkish authorities on Sept. 7 detained Iranian activist Maryam Shariatmadari on the grounds that "her visa had expired," but a day later released her. Shariatmadari fled Iran in 2018, a year after she was sentenced to prison for her vocal criticism of the country's hijab mandate.
Lawyers who were waiting outside Ankara's Kuğulu Park to support bar association heads protesting in a sit-in got blocked by police as they marched to parliament. The legal professionals are all in the capital to protest a draft bill on the parliament floor that would dilute bar associations' authorities.
Turkey's Human Rights Association (İHD) has called for the release of Eylem Oyunlu, who is currently behind bars in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır on charges of 'assisting a terror organization' with her two young children. Oyunlu's 3-week-old baby is suffering from a blocked tear duct and the two-year-old has chronic bronchitis.
Bar association heads who marched to the capital Ankara to protest a judicial decentralization bill spent the night in a deadlock with the police who has the presidents' sit-in surrounded by a barricade. As lawyers outside the park wanted to join the bar association heads, police banned both entries to and exits from the park.
Police have formed barricades around bar association heads who staged a sit-in at the central Kuğulu Park in the capital Ankara in protest of a government bill allowing for the formation of multiple bar associations in each province. Lawyers who came to the area in support of the bar association heads slammed the police's action saying the park cannot be closed off to the public.
Hundreds of lawyers gathered in front of a courthouse in Istanbul on June 30 to protest a draft bill submitted to parliament by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). "They want lawyers to refrain from talking about politics, but we'll do so until we die. We need to protect human rights and the superiority of law. I'm telling Ankara from here; The bars won't be silenced. We won't bow down and obey," Istanbul Bar head Mehmet Durakoğlu said.
The Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) is planning a march to protest a draft bill that would divide large cities' bar associations into smaller institutions. 31 bar associations in Turkey have officially opposed the proposed legislation, and some bar heads attempted a march against in earlier in June.
Turkey's General Directorate of Security (EGM) has issued a written statement defending a violent police intervention against bar association heads who were initially denied entry to the capital Ankara on June 22. The EGM said in a written statement on June 24 that the police “acted in accordance with the legislation” while “pulling lawyers to the side” of the road.
The Interior Ministry has allowed bar heads to continue their march to the capital Ankara following a 27-hour-long stand-off. Union of Turkish Bar Associations head Metin Feyzioğlu attempted to visit bar heads where they were kept waiting by police, but was blocked by bar heads from entering.
Bar association heads have launched a sit-in after police prevented them from entering the capital Ankara to end their Defense March. According to Mehmet Baran Selanik from İzmir Bar, a police officer punched Antep Bar head Bektaş Şarklı. Police also tried to detain Ordu Bar head Haluk Murat Poyraz, but lawyers prevented police from doing so.
Bar associations in Turkey have said that their march to the capital Ankara is being carried out "against darkness," adding their aim is for the draft bill on changing bars' election systems to be withdrawn. "We are not in darkness, but against it. We're marching against darkness. We hope that our efforts yield results. This country needs bright days and we hope that we'll see them together," Van bar head said.
A member of Turkey’s media watchdog council said that the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) attempts at manipulating the news cycle no longer worked. The councilman noted that Ankara’s media outlets are ineffective as there is a dramatic gap between their narrative and the reality of the citizens’ lives.
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." "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.
The Istanbul Bar Association is organizing a march from the Ankara Courthouse to the Court of Cassation on March 2 to demand a judiciary free of political interference. A total of 20 bar association have announced that they will partake in the march.