TURKEY: Lawyers arbitrarily arrested following an anonymous phone call
19 October 2023
The Turkish authorities have conducted searches and arrested at least 20 people, including 3 ÇHD lawyers, following an anonymous tip-off.
Based solely on an anonymous tip-off, the Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office arrested 20 people on 13 October 2023, including 3 lawyers who were members of the Progressive Lawyers’ Association (CHD). According to a CHD member lawyer, the person had told the authorities that the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front-Party (DHKP-C) was going to organise an action in Ankara.
The lawyers in custody include Bilgi Topçu, the chairwoman of ÇHD Ankara, as well as Ceren Yılmaz and Fatih Gökçe. The three lawyers have been released, but Ceren Yilmaz has been placed under judicial supervision and banned from leaving Turkey.
Lawyers, including members of the CHD association, are regularly harassed by the Turkish authorities, who accuse them of defending people accused of being members of extreme left-wing organisations.
The Observatory condemns the arbitrary arrest of lawyers targeted because of the identity of their clients and the accusations made against them.
The Observatory strongly condemns the Turkish government’s repeated attacks on the legal profession.
The Observatory reminds the Republic of Turkey that in accordance with the basic principles of the United Nations relating to the role of the Bar, in particular principles 16, 17 and 18:
Principle 16: “Governments shall ensure that lawyers (a) are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference; (…).”
Principle 17: “Where the security of lawyers is threatened as a result of discharging their functions, they shall be adequately safeguarded by the authorities.”
Principle 18: “Lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients’ causes as a result of discharging their functions.”
 Progressive Lawyers Association