Member of the Human Rights Committee of Norwegian Bar Association Maria Hessen Jacobsen, Former President of Rotterdam Bar Association Nardy Desloover, Member of Lawyers for Lawyers Irma van den Berg and a delegation of lawyers from the Netherlands paid a visit to Istanbul Bar Association to meet with the President of Istanbul Bar Association Atty. Mehmet Durakoğlu at 16.00 on Friday, May 11, 2018. Chair of the Foreign Relations Center of Istanbul Bar Association Atty. A. Metin Uracin was also present during the meeting.
Explaining that deep-rooted history of Istanbul Bar Association, which celebrated its 140th Anniversary this year, defines the position of legal profession in Turkey, Durakoğlu underlined that political history and legal history fuse in each other and detailed on the defense and human rights violations after the failed coup attempt of July 15 and the state of emergency that has followed. He touched upon the vitality of presumption of innocence, right to fair trial, access to justice and right to defense.
President Durakoğlu said that judiciary is being misused as a tool in order to intimidate the opposition and that hostile criminal law is being imposed. He highlighted on the devastation in the judiciary in Turkey. Durakoğlu detailed on the restrictions imposed on lawyers in their meeting with the suspect/defendant, which disproportionally hampers access to lawyer, in other words, access to justice. He emphasized that it has become almost impossible to practise legal profession in Turkey.
Durakoğlu explained that some rights have been suspended due to SoE in accordance with Article 15 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and that Constitutional Court does not monitor the compliance of governmental decrees with law. He also expressed that law can never be suspended.
Underlining that solution of all these problems is only possible on a legitimate ground in democratic rule, Durakoğlu repeated their belief in the dignity of right to defense and he expressed their solidarity with the colleagues whose rights have been violated on grounds of their “attorneyship practice” .