Hosted by Sofia Bar Association, the Joint Congress of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) and the European Bars Federation (FBE) and the FBE General Assembly were held in Sofia on 22-25 June 2022. President of the Istanbul Bar Association, Atty. Mehmet Durakoğlu attended the Congress to represent Istanbul Bar Association, one of the founding members of FBE. Istanbul Bar Association Foreign Relations Coordinator Ece Basmacı Karalar was also present at the congress.
The congress program started with the FBE Commission meetings on Thursday, June 23. President Durakoğlu attended the FBE Future of Profession Commission meeting and briefed the participating bar associations (Vienna, Nice, Malaga, Verona, Katowize, Lausanne Bar Associations) about the difficulties faced by lawyers in Turkey. At the Joint Congress, which took place after the Commission meetings, the topic of "The Role of Lawyers after the Pandemic – Dynamics of Working in Polarized Societies, the Changing Image of Lawyers and the Evolution of Legal Profession" was addressed, the use of new technologies and digitalization in legal practice in the post-pandemic period were discussed by lawyers from various European countries.
FBE Bar Presidents Forum (Forum des Batonniers) was held on Friday, 24 June with the broad participation of the presidents and board members of FBE member bar associations. Speaking at the forum, President Durakoğlu stated that they are resisting against the oppressions on lawyers exerted by the political power in Turkey and that they are in a constant struggle, and underlined that an improvement in this context can only be achieved with the change in the political power after the elections. Durakoğlu emphasized the importance of international professional solidarity in the face of the difficulties faced by lawyers and Bar Associations, and thanked all FBE member bar associations for their continuous support to the lawyers in Turkey and Istanbul Bar Association .
After the Presidents Forum, General Assembly of the FBE was held. At the General Assembly, FBE Term President Dominique Attias handed over the presidency to FBE Vice-President Bas Martens.
After the FBE General Assembly, President Durakoğlu attended the meeting of the Balkan countries bar associations at the Headquarters of the Supreme Bar Council of Bulgaria with the invitation of Ivaylo Dermendjiev, President of the Supreme Bar Council of Bulgaria. Sofia, Bucharest, Georgia, Istanbul, Ankara, Poland and Ukranian Bar Associations and FBE Presidency, which came together as the first step of the plans to establish the "Balkan Countries Bar Associations" in the coming period, discussed the common problems of bar associations and lawyers in the Balkan countries, how this planned union should be established and how it should be institutionalized. They talked about the work of the FBE Eastern Bars Commission.
In his presentation, President Durakoğlu touched upon the history and member structure of the Istanbul Bar Association, the problems of the legal profession in Turkey, the process that took place in Turkey in 2017, which can be called a "regime change" rather than a system change, and the pressures on Istanbul Bar Association.