TURKEY: The Observatory condemns the serious threats against the president of the Diyarbakir Bar and the disclosure, with impunity, of his personal and family information on social networks
February 3, 2023
The Observatory learns with great concern the numerous death threats made on social networks by anonymous accounts against the President of Diyarbakir Bar, Nahit EREN, and his family, including the publication of photos of his children and the name of their school, the number of his identity card and his home address.
Immediately, a criminal complaint was filed with the Diyarbakır Public Prosecutor’s Office against the accounts in question and the Turkish Bar Association and 81 Turkish Bars expressed their solidarity with Nahit EREN in a joint statement urging the judicial authorities to identify the perpetrators through an immediate and effective investigation.
This concern is further heightened by the fact that former president of Diyarbakir Bar, Tahir Elçi, a prominent Kurdish human rights lawyer, was murdered in 2015 during a peace rally, even though he had been the target of threats and arrests following his remarks on a television program in Turkey.
The Observatory condemns in the strongest terms the threats made against the President of the Diyarbakir Bar on social networks and the absence of any threat of criminal proceedings against the perpetrators, even though publications on social networks are subject to restrictive legislation in Turkey and the authorities have multiplied their tools to regulate the use of the Internet with great surveillance of the users.
The Observatory denounces the lack of reaction from the Turkish authorities while a simple “like” regularly leads to an indictment in Turkey when it comes to criticism of the authorities and that prosecutions for “insulting the president” and “terrorist propaganda” due to actions on social networks are in number.
The Observatory greets the Diyarbakir Bar’s fight for democracy, the right of defense and the rule of law and reiterates its deep concern about the deteriorating situation of lawyers in Turkey.
The Observatory welcomes the support of the Turkish Bar Association and the 81 bars that have expressed their legitimate concern, fully aware of the climate of danger and threats that the profession in general and the Diyarbakir Bar, member of the Observatory, in particular, is facing.