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Turkish Progressive Lawyers Association Statement on Lawyers' Arrests

[Progressive Lawyers Association logo. Image from] [Progressive Lawyers Association logo. Image from]

[The following statement was issued by the Progressive Lawyers Association of Turkey on 18 January 2013.]

Police terrorism against defense lawyers continues. Lawyers are being taken under custody and searches are carried out in their offices and houses as well as two offices of Progressive Lawyers’ Association.

The offices of the Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD), Istanbul and Ankara Branches, The People’s Law Office (An independent law office defending the basic rights of the suppressed), and a great number of lawyers’ houses were raided by the police early this morning, doors broken down. Searches and detentions have been carried on since 4:00 AM in the raided dwellings and offices of lawyers: ÇHD President Selçuk Kozağaçlı, ÇHD Headquarters Member Oya Aslan, ÇHD Istanbul Branch President Taylan Tanay, and executives Güçlü Sevimli, Güray Dağ, Gülvin Aydın, former ÇHD branch presidents Serhan Arıkanoğlu and Efkan Bolaç, and ÇHD members Ebru Timtik, Barkın Timtik, Naciye Demir, Günay Dağ, and Şükriye Erden.

Police terrorism against defense continues. Using all of the instruments under its authority, the government incessantly attacks individuals and institutions struggling for democracy and freedom and opposing the system. An overall suppression of the society is at stake with anti-democratic legal regulations whose practice violates even their own limits, the objective being the annihilation of all social opposition. These practices, which respect neither codes nor the law itself, literally consist of the application of a “enemy criminal law.”

Recently in Ankara, a member of Progressive Lawyers Association Headquarters Administrative Board was threatened by a police officer saying “You [ÇHD] will also get what you deserve, we will give it to you soon!” during a police search at one of the news agencies. Besides, in Istanbul, a bug for surveillance was found at The Law Office of the People, revealing that the Istanbul Police Department Anti-Terror Unit had organized a conspiracy against The People’s Law Office for illegal and immoral purposes. On the other hand, Istanbul Police Department Anti-Terror Unit, as part of their conspiratorial activities against some of our colleagues including members of our Association and Administrative Board, took testimonies against lawyers from those who had benefited from the provisions of the “Effective Repentance Law” and made them identify our colleagues by their photographs that were filed in the police records afterwards. Both the bug planted in The People’s Law Office and the testimonies taken against our colleagues that work at this law office have been revealed and made known to public. It is of great importance to underline that all these attacks, which are directed to the members of our Association and Administrative Board, are, in fact, targeted directly at Progressive Lawyers Association itself, for we have undertaken the defense of all of the actors of the social opposition against the government during the past years.
We, Progressive Lawyers Association, openly declare that oppression and attacks, whatever they may be, will never prevent us from defending the “social opposition” in courts. Our members and colleagues who have been defending the opponents of the government are not alone. This is not the first time we encounter oppressive governmental policies. Our Association has already witnessed the policies of the military government of the coup d’état in 1980, of former prime minister Tansu Çiller and former police chief and minister of interior and justice Mehmet Ağar in 1990s, and finally of the AKP government in 2000s. However strong and widespread the oppression against our profession may be, we are and we will be the lawyers of the oppressed, of the revolutionaries, and of the Kurds in this country. The social opposition has never been deprived of its lawyers, it will never be in the future.

We will continue to exercise our profession the way we believe in and defend the "defense."

Stop the terrorism of special trial procedures! 


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