Turkey lawyers clash with police over bar reform

Senior lawyers from around Turkey clashed with police last week when the authorities attempted to prevent them marching on the capital Ankara in protest against a bill which they say would damage professional independence.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ruling Justice and Development Party has proposed changes to the election system of bar associations which it says will increase representation from smaller cities. But the protesting lawyers say the move would pave the way for the formation of government-friendly associations.

‘The government is aiming to form multiple bar associations in the same province, thus creating conflicting associations whose power has been diminished through the old strategy of divide, conquer and rule,’ the Istanbul Bar Association said in a statement.