Ümit Kocasakal elected

Ümit Kocasakal elected

ISTANBUL - Doğan News Agency
The Istanbul Bar Association, one of the largest bar associations in the world with around 30,000 members, elected Ümit Kocasakal as its new president for a second term on Oct. 14.

Kocasakal is a controversial name for criticizing defense in mother tongues, which is mainly
discussed with regard to the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) case suspects.

“I never accept [the right to] defense in mother tongue. This is the exploitation of a right. Article 250 of the Code of Criminal Procedure is clear. If a Kurdish citizen does not know Turkish, I would be the first to defend him. However, insisting on making a defense in the mother tongue despite knowing Turkish amounts to the exploitation of a right,” Kocasakal said during a speech made on Oct. 14.

A total of 22,019 lawyers cast ballots during the election. Kocasakal received 12,836 votes, Rıza Saka received 4,650 votes, Filiz Kerestecioğlu received 3,459 votes, and the association’s former president Muammer Aydın received 1,038 votes.

After the results were announced, lawyers congratulated Ümit Kocasakal and shouted slogans such as “Independent Turkey,” and “There is hope at the Bar.”