Ekkehart Schaffer, the President of the German Federal Bar (Bundesrechtsanwaltskammer), which represents 28 German Bars and entire legal profession in Germany, has sent a harsh letter to AKP Governmnet’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ and asked to take all necessary measures to guarantee that lawyers in Turkey are able to perform their professional duties without fear of intimidation, hindrance, harassment, or improper interference.
Representing approximately 165.000 lawyers, vis-a-vis authorities, courts and organisations at national, European and international level, German Federal Bar’s President Schaffer has expressed German Federal Bar’s deep concerns over the current situation of the legal profession in Turkey.
Summarizing the dire situation in Turkey, Schafer has written that “According to information available to us, around 270 Turkish lawyers were arrested since 15th July 2016, among them several current and former presidents of regional Bars, Mr. Orhan Öngöz (President of the Trabzon Bar), Mr. Mehmet Cemal Acar (President of the Siirt Bar), Mr. İsmail Taştan (President of the Gümüşhane-Bayburt Regional Bar), Mr. Fevzi Kayacan (President of the Konya Bar), Mr. Mehmet Güzel (Former President of the Erzurum Bar), Mr. Zeynel Balkız (Former President of the Manisa Bar), who are still in detention right now. Twenty-nine lawyers associations, among them “YARSAV – Judges and Prosecutors Association”, “Çağdaş Hukukçular Derneği – Progressive Lawyers Association” and Manisa Lawyers Association were closed down with their assets confiscated by the government.”
Saying that they were irritated by the fact that so many lawyers have become a target of investigations by the Turkish state in such a short period of time, President Schaffer urged Turkish Justice Minister Bozdağ to take effective measures to ensure that all lawyers currently in detention receive proper treatment, that their professional duties towards their clients are not violated and that the investigations against them are conducted according to the principles of the rule of law.
The German Federal Bar President has also asked Justice Minister Bozdağ to take all necessary measures to guarantee that lawyers in Turkey are able to perform their professional duties without fear of intimidation, hindrance, harassment, or improper interference.