Urfa’s Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office in Turkey has launched an investigation into the activities of 26 lawyers, including the Urfa Bar Association’s President Abdullah Öncel, on the alleged grounds that they are in breach of “The Law on Meetings and Demonstrations, No. 2911”.
The statement issued by Urfa Bar Association on 7 July against the government’s proposed amendments in the electoral system of the bar associations is deemed to represent ‘grounds for ‘investigation’. The lawyers are also going to be charged for the sit-in action they undertook at the time.
Abdullah Öncel criticized the investigation in his personal social media account. He stated:
“It is an honour for me to be charged with my colleagues, for only doing our profession, for protecting the honour of being lawyers. We will go and defend people again”.
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey is planning to make changes in the bars’ electoral systems and the Attorneys’ Act. The presidents of the bar associations have opposed the amendments that the AKP has proposed. Bar association chairs marched to the capital from various cities in Turkey in July 2020. They claimed that the AKP is trying to manipulate them by changing the system and also claimed the proposed changes will be anti-democratic. Lawyers have reportedly stated that they will not be silenced and that they will oppose the proposed amendments.