Thousands of Turkish lawyers protested outside Istanbul’s main courthouse on Tuesday against a government plan to reform bar associations, saying it aims to silence dissent and will lead to politicization of their profession.
Under a draft law presented to parliament on Tuesday by President Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling AK Party, multiple bar associations could be formed in each of Turkey’s provinces. Only one is currently allowed per province.
Turkish riot police officers stand guard as lawyers demonstrate in front of Istanbul's courthouse, on June 30, 2020, during a demonstration against a draft law which aims to change the existing structure of bar associations. (AFP)
AK Party lawmaker Cahit Ozkan told reporters the bill was needed because bar associations were no longer able to function properly following a 13-fold increase in the number of lawyers in Turkey since the existing law firstcame into effect.