German Bar Association: No rule of law in Turkey anymore

DAV Chief Ulrich Schellenberg

The head of the German Bar Association (DAV), Ulrich Schellenberg, said the rule of law no longer exists in Turkey, warning German lawyers about the possibility of being arrested in the country, Deutsche Welle reported on Friday.

“There is no rule of law in Turkey anymore. There is no presumption of innocence. There is no effective defense. There is no independent judiciary,” Schellenberg told dpa, underlining that lawyers have been detained due to their clients and that people are having difficulties finding attorneys.

Stating that Turkish autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is trying to create a “fear system” among judges and prosecutors, Schellenberg described this trend as poison for the independent judiciary.

Regarding the mass detentions in Turkey, Schellenberg said Turkish authorities impose arbitrary detentions, warning that German lawyers could be arrested just like German journalists in Turkey.

Schellenberg in June criticized the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), which rejected applications concerning post-coup worker purges in Turkey on the grounds that domestic remedies had not been exhausted.

Schellenberg said there was no working state of law in Turkey and that Turkey could not be compared to other European countries in terms of state of law principles.

Then-Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ on May 2017 said more than 4,000 judges and prosecutors have been dismissed from judicial body over links to the Gülen movement and that none of the remaining judges and prosecutors have been left uninvestigated. However, according to the t24 news website, the government has dismissed 4,238 of Turkey’s 14,661 judges and prosecutors since July 15.

Meanwhile, at least 1,343 lawyers have been under criminal prosecution of Turkish government as 538 lawyers have been arrested since a controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup. (SCF with

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