Rule of law

Arrest of approximately 55 lawyers in Ankara

Who we wrote to

The president of the Republic of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

We wrote the letter jointly with:

  • Lawyers for Lawyers
  • the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales
  • the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe
  • the Bar Council of England and Wales
  • Deutscher Anwaltverein

What’s the issue

We’ve learnt that the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office issued detention warrants on 11 September 2020 for approximately 55 lawyers and trainee lawyers for being “members of a terrorist organisation”.

Their offices and places of residence were searched.

It was reported that their arrests were connected to their representation (or assistance with representation) of clients who are suspected of alleged affiliation with the Gülen movement.

During interrogations, the arrested lawyers were asked questions about their professional activities, some of which allegedly violate the principle of lawyer-client confidentiality.

We fear that the arrest of these lawyers is connected to, and serves to curb, their legitimate activities as lawyers.

What we asked for

We urged the Turkish authorities to:

  • release the 55 lawyers and trainee lawyers
  • drop all charges against them unless credible evidence is presented in proceedings that respect fair trial guarantees
  • put an end to all acts of harassment against them, including at a judicial level
  • guarantee in all circumstances that all lawyers in Turkey can carry out their legitimate professional activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions, including judicial harassment