CHP will appeal to top court to annul amendments on bar associations

CHP will appeal to top court to annul amendments on bar associations

CHP will appeal to top court to annul amendments on bar associations

The main opposition party will seek the annulment of amendments that overhaul the structures and election systems of bar associations, its leader has said, amid continued protests of lawyers as parliament passed the first part of 28-article bill.

“We will apply to the Constitutional Court on the day the amendments will be published in the Official Gazette. Creating multiple bar associations is a treason against the unitary structure of the state. It’s a dagger stabbed into the heart of the unitary system,” Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), told reporters late July 9.

“Those who legislate it and who raise their hands to pass it [in parliament] will be remembered in history.”

The 28-article bill contains changes on the Lawyers’ Act and some other laws that regulate the duties of the lawyers and formation of the bar associations. The bill is supported by the AKP’s main ally, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), while all the other opposition parties announced their objection to the changes. The bar associations are also against the proposed regulations as they vow to continue to protest the drafted bill.

The objective behind the changes is to reduce the power and influence of three main bar associations, namely Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir, by the formation of alternative associations. According to the proposal, in provinces with more than 5,000 lawyers, 2,000 lawyers will be able to form their own bar association by submitting a petition signed by four founding members to the Turkey Bar Association.

Lawyers protest in Ankara

As parliament started debating the bill, hundreds of lawyers gathered at a park in downtown Ankara to protest the changes.

Security forces have taken extensive measures and encircled the park with barriers. As tension between the lawyers and police escalated, a group of CHP lawmakers, led by MP Mahmut Tanal, intervened and overcame the barriers, knocking them down, to meet the protestors.

The lawyers spent the night at the park.