Consul General of France to Istanbul Bertrand Buchwalter paid a courtesy visit to the President of Istanbul Bar Association Atty. Mehmet Durakoğlu at 11.30 on Thursday, January 18, 2018. The meeting was also attended by the Vice-President of Istanbul Bar Association Atty. Necmi Şimşek.
State of Emergency in France and Turkey was discussed during the meeting. Issues covered during the meeting with the delegation of French lawyers, which was held last week within the premises of Istanbul Bar Association, were also covered at Buchwalter’s visit. Addressing the problems arising from SoE and governmental decrees in Turkey, President Durakoğlu pointed out the violations of human rights and right to defense and indicated that Soe practices were not taken before the ECHR by the lawyers in France, which makes it difficult to identify the ECHR’s perspective to France and Turkey, both of which have experienced SoE in the same period of time. Highlighting the necessity of struggle against FETÖ and July 15 failed coup attempt, Durakoğlu said that their struggle dates back to far back, they have always pointed to this threat and they believe that struggle must be given to this end. However, Durakoğlu reminded that SoE is misused as an ordinary way to govern though it innately aims at fighting with terrorism and those who have attempted for the coup and he underlined that governmental decrees are used as a tool by the executive to take hold of the judiciary. Indicating that there is an attempt to deactivate lawyers through the interventions to the judiciary by the governmental decree, Durakoğlu detailed on the restrictions imposed on lawyers in their meeting with the suspect/defendant, violations of defense rights as even the compulsory defense counsel mechanism is being disreagred under the pretense of speedy trials and he emphasized that legal profession is attempted to be defamed.
Highlighting the stance of Istanbul Bar Association concerning the failed coup attempt, Durakoğlu stressed out that Istanbul Bar Association has always supported the fight against terrorism on the basis of the rule of law. However, he warned that SoE, in its current form, impairs fair trial principle as it restricts defense right and ongoing SoE should be lifted immeadiately.
Rendering information about the SoE declared in France, Consul General Buchwalter emphasized that SoE did not grant extraordinary powers to the executive organ in France different from Turkey and he underlined that executive did not have any intervention to the judiciary and the legislative during SoE in France. Buchwalter stressed out that efficiency of SoE can only be achieved within the framework of proportionality and the principles of a state governed by the rule of law and that France has always been in solidarity with Turkey provided that Turkey stays within these boundaries.
At the meeting during which Turkey&EU relations were also discussed, Durakoğlu mentioned that the EU’s attitude towards Turkey causes problems not only in foreign policy, it also gives direction to domestic policy, which is misused by the political power and he called the EU to take this political situation into consideration while determining its Turkey policy as this is vitally important. Buchwalter added that France considers Turkey, geographically and historically, as a part of the EU, and that France always supports democratization in Turkey. Buchwalter also mentioned that the EU is currently undergoing an economic and political transformation.
President Durakoğlu thanked Buchwalter for his visit and honored him with a plate of recognition.