Turkish bar associations demand judicial independence and rule of law

As Turkish courts opened their new judicial year on Sept. 1, provincial bar associations have released a joint statement emphasizing the importance of judicial independence and rule of law.

Duvar English 

Turkey’s 81 provincial bar associations have issued a joint statement ahead of the opening of the new legislative year, saying that they demand an independent judiciary and rule of law.

The judicial year starts on Sept. 1 every year in Turkey. As was the case last year, the opening ceremony of the 2022-2023 judicial year is scheduled to take place at the Court of Cassation.

Court of Cassation head Mehmet Akarca and Union of the Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) head Erinç Sağkan will address the participants of the ceremony which will be also attended by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.

In previous years, provincial bar associations had boycotted the judicial year opening ceremony taking place at the Presidential Palace and said that this was “damaging the judicial independence.”

This year, ahead of the ceremony, the 81 bar associations released a joint statement saying that “not even a step was taken in the past judicial year to tackle the problems that became chronic.”

The bar associations said that an understanding that “deepens the problems of lawyers around the axis of their own political agenda” cannot offer any solutions. They said that a system where “judicial independence is questioned and justice does not pertain” cannot function properly. “We want a fair judicial year for everyone in which the rule of law is maintained, rights and freedoms are realized,” they said.

“We will stand with determination by our will that we will use our constitutional rights until the end unless concrete steps are taken for the solution of our profession’s problems and maintenance of the rule of law and judicial independence.”