Turkey detains 4 lawyers on ‘trumped-up charges,’ says jurists association

The Progressive Lawyers' Association (ÇHD)

Turkish authorities have detained four lawyers from the Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD), the T24 news website reported.

The ÇHD announced that members Betül Vangölü Kozağaçlı, Seda Şaraldı, Didem Baydar Ünsal and Berrak Çağlar were detained on what it said were trumped-up charges, condemning the physical violence in the law enforcement raids that damaged the lawyers’ offices.

While the lawyers’ group did not disclose the accusations against the detainees, some Turkish media outlets highlighted the timing of the detentions, which followed a deadly attack in front of İstanbul’s main courthouse on Tuesday.

The attack led to the death of two assailants and a bystander, leaving three police officers and two civilians injured.

Turkish authorities said the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) was behind the attack.

Leftist and progressive lawyers groups frequently face detentions and investigations in Turkey, where lawyers risk being targeted by the authorities due to the identity of their clients.

Many legal professionals have in recent years been charged with the same crimes as the clients that they represented.

Turkey’s anti-terror laws are often criticized for being overly vague, allowing too much room for interpretation while the judiciary is widely described as being under executive control.

Turkey’s post-coup purges included the mass removal of more than 4,000 judges and prosecutors immediately after a failed coup which, according to many international observers, had a chilling effect on the legal professionals who continued to work in the judiciary.

The government has also been accused of replacing the purged judicial members with young and inexperienced judges and prosecutors who have close links to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

In a development that confirmed the erosion of the Turkish judiciary, Turkey was ranked 117th among 142 countries in the 2023 Rule of Law Index published by the World Justice Project (WJP) in late October, dropping one place in comparison to the previous year.

Take a second to support Stockholm Center for Freedom on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!