Turkey arrests 22 lawyers, issues detention warrants for 34 others

A total of twenty-two lawyers were arrested by a Turkish court on Sunday in an investigation targeting the Gülen movement, which the Turkish government blames for a failed coup last July.

Also, detention warrants have been issued for 34 lawyers, Nurullah Albayrak, a lawyer who represents Turkish scholar Fethullah Gülen on charges of using ByLock, a smart phone application that authorities believe is a communication tool between members of the Gülen movement.

Among the wanted lawyers are: Doğan Akkurt who represents Samanyolu TV’s Broadcasting Chairman Hidayet Karaca, Sıddık Filiz who represents former head of the Istanbul police’s anti-terror department Yurt Atayün, Kemalettin Gülen who represents Fethullah Gülen.

Karaca was arrested as part of an investigation into the Gülen Movement on Dec. 14, 2014.  He was arrested on suspicion of heading a terrorist group based on an evidence that came from a soap opera script that was broadcast five years ago on Samanyolu TV. Karaca refused to defend himself before the court as he viewed the court as lacking impartiality and independence.

Yurt Atayün was arrested in July 2014 as part of an investigation into a group of high-ranking police chiefs who carried out graft operation on Dec. 17, 2015, which implicated several ministers, President RecepTayyip Erdoğan and dozens of pro-government businessmen.

According to data compiled by ‘Arrested Lawyers Initiative’ before February 2017, 301 lawyers are currently in jail and arrest warrants have been issued by courts about more than 100 lawyers in Turkey. Moreover, 702 lawyers are currently under legal investigation.

Turkish state under the rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and AKP government have conducted a relentless campaign against lawyers since failed coup attempt in July 15, 2016. Arrest and detention frenzy have targeted legal defenders beside of other professional across the country. Numbers of lawyers have been detained or arrested in 68 out of Turkey’s 81 provinces. All arrested lawyers have faced with the same accusations of allegedly belonging to a terror group and attempting to overthrow the government.

According to “Arrested Lawyers Initiative’, what is troubling more is the fact that the courts that issued detention warrants also ordered to freeze assets of lawyers, thwarting them from supporting their families. (turkeypurge.com)

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