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Our Address


25 April 2023 

On the morning of 25 April 2023, a large-scale operation was launched in 21 provinces, including the Kurdish-majority province of Diyarbakir. 150 people were arrested, including 25 lawyers, human rights defenders, leaders of the Turkish Human Rights Association, as well as many journalists, artists and community activists, without the charges being known due to the restrictions ordered by the Turkish justice system. 

This operation is taking place in a tense electoral context, less than three weeks before the presidential and legislative elections in Turkey. Nahit Eren, President of the Diyarbakir Bar Association and member of the Observatory denounces “an attempt to intimidate Kurdish voters”, stating that “we cannot say that this is an independent operation disconnected from the political agenda of the country”. 

The Observatory joins the concerns expressed by the Diyarbakir Bar Association due to the political and covert nature of this police operation. 

The Observatory denounces any intimidation operation against the legal profession, calls on the Turkish authorities to release those detained, and to immediately stop all intimidation, persecution and arbitrary arrests of lawyers, human rights defenders and journalists. 

The Observatory condemns the searches of lawyers’ homes and the offices of the ÖHD association, to the detriment of respect for professional secrecy and their private lives, and denounces the serious infringements of the right to defence, as lawyers cannot assist their colleagues in custody for 24 hours. 

The Observatory strongly condemns the obstacles to the lawyers’ profession and calls on the Turkish authorities to put an end to all human rights violations without delay and to fully respect all fundamental rights, in particular the freedom of expression and assembly of lawyers. 

The Observatory expresses its full solidarity with the Bar Associations of Diyarbakir, Mardin, Batman and Urfa and with all the lawyers arrested: Mehmet Öner, Halise Dakalı, Özüm Vurgun, Bünyamin Şeker, Berdan Acun, Pirozhan Kaleli, Resul Temur, Fırat Taşkın, Salih Tekin, Sozan Acar, Büşra Eylül Özgültekin, Burhan Artan,  Şerzan Yelboğa, Süleyman Şahin, Gülistan Ataş, Fırat Yıldız, Serhat Hezer, Kenan Aygay, Şirrin Şen, Bahar Okay, Gurbet Özbey, Ruşen Doğan of the Diyarbakir Bar Association ;  Metin Özbadem of Urfa Bar Association; Kenan Anğay and Jiyan Samedoğlu of Mardin Bar Association. 

The Observatory recalls the fundamental principles relating to the role of the Bar, according to which public authorities must ensure that lawyers are not subject to threats, prosecution or economic sanctions for any action taken in accordance with the exercise of their profession (Principle 16); and that lawyers must not be assimilated to their clients or their clients’ cause as a result of the exercise of their functions (Principle 17). 

The Observatory will follow closely the outcome of the case.