Lawyer candidate faces ‘early dismissal’ over alleged Gülen links

Turkey’s Justice Ministry has been seeking to prevent a would-be lawyer from getting his/her license as he/she has been undergoing an investigation over alleged ties to the Gülen movement.

The government has so far sacked tens of thousands of people from their professions in the aftermath of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, for which it blames the movement.

As a solid evidence of widespread and conspicuous discrimination, a lawsuit filed by the Justice Ministry recently has showed that the government even tries to block career paths for those implicated in post-coup witch hunt campaign.

A Twitter account, @Endangered_J , has shared the copies of a lawsuit the justice ministry filed against the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) for issuing lawyer license to a suspect in one of those investigations on May 6, 2017.

According to the lawsuit, the ministry requests a stay of execution on TBB’s decision to give lawyer certification to the person in question saying that “his/her beginning to practice attorneyship would cause harm that could not be recovered in the future.”

The ministry also asks court to make TBB pay the legal costs for the lawsuit.

Turkish authorities have issued sweeping arrest warrants against more than 1000 lawyers within last eight months on what is believed to be a part of crackdown on critics and opponents of Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his government.

So far more than 410 lawyers including prominent criminal law attorneys and heads of provincial and regional bar associations were formally arrested while many were forced to self-exile to avoid torture and ill treatment in jails. The government also purged 108 academics including famous law professors from law schools of public universities and fired 108 government lawyers en masse.

What is more, the authorities also ordered the seizure of all assets of lawyers who faced an arrest although they were not convicted of any crime and there was no indictment filed and no trial hearing held yet. The seizure of assets has deprived family members of their livelihood while lawyers are left languishing behind bars in long pre-trial detentions.

Turkey survived a military coup attempt on July 15 which killed over 240 people. Immediately after the putsch, the AKP government along with President Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement despite the lack of any evidence to that effect.

Although the Gülen movement strongly denies having any role in the putsch, the government accuses it of having masterminded the foiled coup. Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, called for an international investigation into the coup attempt, 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.

According to a statement from Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ on May 6, 149,833 people have been investigated and 48,636 have been jailed as part of a post-coup witch hunt targeting the Gülen movement since the July 15, 2016 coup attempt in Turkey. (SCF with May 9, 2017

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