Turkish Union of Bars head to attend legal ceremony, defies Erdoğan

Turkish Union of Bars head to attend legal ceremony, defies Erdoğan

Cansu Çamlibel ANKARA
Turkish Union of Bars head to attend legal ceremony, defies Erdoğan

Turkish Union of Bars head Feyzioğlu says he will attend and will speak at the ceremony to mark the start of the new judiciary year, despite Erdoğan’s opposition. DHA Photo

Turkish Union of Bars head Metin Feyzioğlu has defied President-elect Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by saying he will attend the ceremony to mark the new legal year.

Feyzioğlu, whose near-one hour speech during the Council of State’s anniversary drew the ire of Erdoğan in May, replied to the Turkish leader’s statement who said he would not attend the ceremony if Feyzioğlu would speak at the event.

“Was there something wrong in May,” Feyzioğlu said, referring to the speech which prompted Erdoğan to storm off during the ceremony. “We are expressing the unlawful issues in the country. What we were defending there were the citizens’ rights via the lawyers’ rights. I really want to go and make a three-minute statement at the start of the legal year. I would really like to live in that kind of country,” Feyzioğlu added.

When asked about the length of his speech this time around, Feyzioğlu said it would be “30 minutes” long, adding he did not have a single regret over the length of his last speech in May, which lasted around “51 minutes.”

“I think the head of the Council of State should be regretful. Was it correct that they didn’t even mention the Council of State judge who was removed? So I had to mention him. Mr. Prime Minister’s preferences are his issues. I provided him with a reply [and] I would give the same reply today [if he asked me]. It’s not my problem that I talk about [these issues],” Feyzioğlu said.

As a staunch critic of the government, Feyzioğlu was also critical of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). While responding to the CHP’s Faruk Loğoğlu’s criticism on judiciary officials to avoid politics, Feyzioğlu said: “Had Loğoğlu worked a little more, I have talked a little less.”

As the main opposition, the CHP are preparing for their congress from Sept. 5-6 after having suffered back-to-back election defeats.

Feyzioğlu was once seen as a possible candidate for the party chair, but rejected the possibility of becoming a candidate.

“We are speaking about the government becoming more and more autocratic, restricting rights and freedoms,” Feyzioğlu said. “At the core of it all, is the deficiency of the opposition parties who have failed to become an alternative to the ruling [AKP] party. When [the CHP’s Presidential candidate Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu] came out of the blue, the passengers warned the captain that the ship was going to hit an iceberg. The defeat was obvious. The election, which could have been taken to the second round, was surrendered. This only happens in societies and parties with a poor democratic culture.”