As Turkey’s parliament debates a controversial proposal to weaken the influence of established bar associations, lawyers are protesting in the nation’s major cities.
Vowing to increase pressure on Ankara lawmakers, Turkish lawyers continued protests in the nation’s major cities Thursday against a controversial bill that would amend laws governing bar associations.
Leading lawyers organized rallies in Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir to denounce measures they say would weaken the influence of Turkish bar associations, the majority of which have long criticized the government’s human rights record and failures to uphold the rule of law.
Introduced by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) on June 30, the bill would amend a Turkish law regulating lawyers, allowing any group of at least 2,000 lawyers in provinces with more than 5,00 lawyers to establish a new bar association.
Expected to pass through a parliamentary majority held by the AKP and allied members of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), critics say the bill would further politicize a justice system deemed impartial by local and international human rights advocates.