Kerestecioğlu: In Turkey, lawyers are at the forefront of the groups most affected by the State of Emergency

Our Parliamentary Group Deputy Filiz Kerestecioğlu gave a speech at the PACE's plenary session on the report titled "The case for drafting a European convention on the profession of lawyer".

Thank you president,

Dear Colleagues,

First of all, I would like to congratulate Ms. LAHAYE-BATTHEU for expressing in a clear and impartial manner the problems that lawyers have experienced in member states of the Council.

As a deputy who has been a lawyer for over 30 years, I have to admit that the situation has worsened for lawyers in Turkey and in many other countries. As a lawyer who have practiced this profession even in state security courts with military judges established after the military coup of 1980, it is now possible to say that the judiciary is under much more tutelage and has lost its independence. I know that lawyers face similar problems in many countries.

Lawyers are the voice and assurance of the freedom of the people who seek rights and as representatives of independent advocacy, they are the founding elements of the law. There is no justice in a system where lawyers are not free.

Hoever, in Turkey, lawyers are at the forefront of the groups most affected by the State of Emergency constantly being re-announced.During this period of serious violations of the right to defense, hundreds of lawyers were arrested.

Lawyers’ right to defend has also been seriously damaged by the decree laws enacted in the period of state of emergency.

Hundreds of lawyers who were unlawfully investigated because of organizational crimes were banned from advocating of those who were investigated for the same crime.

Upon the request of the public prosecutor and with the ruling of the judge, preventing lawyers to interview with their client for 24 hours is legalized.

During interviews between detainees and lawyers, the audio and video recordings of the interviewee are legalized.

But on the other hand, “wherever there is oppression there is resistance”. Lawyers have been keeping a “justice watch” in a court for 42 weeks to show solidarity with their imprisoned colleagues and to seek for justice justice.

We can not leave the lawyers alone in their fight.As the report puts forward, similar violations occur in the member States even to such extremes as physical assault and murder. For this reason, we need to act immediately.

The key aspect of international conventions is the implementation. Unfortunately when there is no binding instruments, generally States Parties do not fully implement ratified conventions.

A binding convention and a committee of experts examining the situation in signatory countries is very important for the profession of lawyer. For instance, GREVIO play a crucial role for the implementation of Istanbul Convention. We have to support a similar committee for the rights of lawyers.

For all these reasons, I want to express once more that I support this report for judicial independence and a fair judiciary. It is our responsibility to protect lawyers who try to practice their profession by putting their lives at risk.

24 January 2018