The judicial year starts on 1st of September every year in Turkey. The judicial recess which starts 20th of July ends on 1st of September and so new judicial year starts but due to official holiday of Eid Al-Adha, this year official opening ceremony takes place on 5th of September.
According to the ceremony programme made pursuant to the new regulation, the president of the Union of Turkish Bars Association will not have the right to give speech at the opening ceremony which will be held in the Supreme Court (Yargıtay). The Union of Turkish Bars Association denounced the programme with a written statement and said “We do not attend (the ceremony) just to applaud”.
SITUATION IN TURKEY WHILE NEW JUDICIAL YEAR BEGINS
As of 5th September 2017, 524 lawyers have been arrested (since 15th July 2016) and 1342 (updated) lawyers are under prosecution. Some of the arrested lawyers were subjected torture and ill-treatment.
There has been a relentless campaign of arrests which has targeted fellow lawyers across the country. In 77 of Turkey’s 81 provinces, lawyers have been detained and arrested on trumped-up charges as part of criminal investigations orchestrated by the political authorities and conducted by provincial public prosecutors.
14 of detained or arrested lawyers are the presidents or former presidents of provincial bars associations.
So far; Erzincan 2nd High Penal Court sentenced lawyers Cemalettin Ozer and Talip Nayir who are (respectively) former president of Erzincan Bar Association and former board member of association 8 years 9 month and 10 years and Eskisehir 2nd High Penal Court sentenced 11 lawyers to range 4 to 12 years imprisonment.
All persecuted lawyers are being charged with terror linked offences such as being member of armed terrorist organisation or to run armed terrorist organisation. Pursuant to Turkish Penal Code, these two offences require 7,5 to 22,5 years imprisonment.
In addition to these lawyers, at least 149 public (gov’t) attorneys & legal advisers, 108 law schools academics were dismissed with emergency decrees, most of them were also detained or arrested. As the most recent ring of Erdogan’s persecution chain, nine respected human rights defenders including the chair and director of Amnesty International Turkey Branch were arrested.
The Turkish government has also targeted Turkish lawyers’ right to association. 34 different lawyers’ societies or associations have been shut down since the declaration of the state of emergency. Following their closing down by a government decree, all their assets have also been confiscated without compensation.
Also, 5218 judges and prosecutors were dismissed and they were subsequently arrested. There are still 2600 judges and public prosecutors in prison with nearly 680 of them in solitary confinement.
According to The World Justice Project’s annual report entitled “Rule of Law Index 2016″, Turkey is on 99th rank amongst 113 countries. Turkey is on 105th rank in terms of “fundamental rights” and on 108th rank in terms of “constraints on government powers” amongst 113 countries.