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IBAHRI co-signs statement urging Turkish authorities to end persecution of lawyers

Friday 26 June 2020


Initially the statement was to be printed in Cumhuriyet. The newspaper later declined to publish it. Instead, the statement appeared in BirGün and Yeni Yasam.

Download English statement Download Turkish statement

A joint statement urging the Government of the Republic of Turkey to end the persecution of lawyers, reverse unlawful convictions and release those who have been unjustly detained, has been published in Turkish newspapers BirGün and Yeni Yasam by 35 international legal bodies. As a co-signatory, the International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), joined other organisations amid grave concern for the lawyers Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal of the Progressive Lawyers’ Association (Çagdas Hukukçular Dernegi, ÇHD), who have been on hunger strike for more than 100 days demanding fair trial rights for all. Lawyers for Lawyers positioned the statement as an advertisement in the 24 June 2020 editions of the newspapers.

The full statement in English appears below. A Turkish translation is available here.


Lawyers in Turkey are being prosecuted and convicted in large numbers for simply doing their job and defending their clients.

Two lawyers, sentenced to lengthy prison sentences, have been on hunger strike for well over 100 days, asking for a fair trial and justice for all, because every other time they asked they were ignored.

Imprisoned lawyers were left out of the group of prisoners being released following the start of the COVID-19 crisis, as were journalists, human rights defenders and other political prisoners.

The Bar Associations of Ankara and Diyarbakir are under investigation for expressing their opinion on human rights matters.

All these issues show that lawyers in Turkey are under attack. An attack on lawyers for doing their job is an attack on the rule of law.

We, the undersigned lawyers’ organisations from all over the world, call on the Turkish government to respect the independence of lawyers and judges in performing their professional duties, as international human rights law requires.

We urge the Turkish government to publicly support lawyers as essential agents in the administration of justice, to stop harassing and prosecuting them, to reverse unlawful convictions and to release the unjustly detained from prison.


Notes to the Editor

  1. Click here to download the statement in ENGLISH.
  2. Click here to download the statement in TURKISH.
  3. Click here for further IBAHRI-related items on Turkey. www.ibanet.org/Human_Rights_Institute/Work_by_regions/Europe/Turkey
  4. The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), an autonomous and financially independent entity, works to promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just rule of law, and to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession worldwide.
  5. The International Bar Association (IBA), the global voice of the legal profession, is the foremost organisation for international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Established in 1947, shortly after the creation of the United Nations, it was born out of the conviction that an organisation made up of the world's bar associations could contribute to global stability and peace through the administration of justice.
  6. Follow the IBAHRI on Twitter here: twitter.com/IBAHRI

For further information please contact:

Romana St. Matthew - Daniel
Press Office
International Bar Association
4th Floor, 10 St Bride Street,
London EC4A 4AD

Mobile: +44 (0)7940 731 915
Direct Line: +44 (0)20 7842 0094
Main Office: +44 (0)20 7842 0090
Fax: +44 (0)20 7842 0091

Email: romana.daniel@int-bar.org
Website: www.ibanet.org

IBA website page link for this news release:
Short link: tinyurl.com/y7dsu2xg

Download the PDF of the statement in English:
Short link: tinyurl.com/yb3k72vm

Download the PDF of the statement in Turkish:
Short link: tinyurl.com/y9fzqnjz