In November 2011, mass arrests of Kurdish and Turkish lawyers took place in raids executed simultaneously in many Turkish cities and provinces.

Following these events, 46 lawyers - most of whom are of Kurdish origin - have been charged with terrorism offences, which in some instances have been linked to their legal representation of Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the PKK.

Since November 2011, the Law Society’s Human Rights Committee has been carrying out trial observations in Istanbul (Turkey). On 14 November 2016, the Law Society’s Human Rights Committee chairperson, Tony Fisher, attended the latest hearing. As with all previous hearings, an international delegation of lawyers from France, Switzerland, Holland, Germany, Italy and the UK attended this hearing.

In his latest update, Tony Fisher highlights serious concerns on the independence of the judiciary in Turkey, which were raised prior to the attempted coup of 15 July 2016. From this last visit, Tony expressed disquiet on the lack of effective respect for the rule of law, the independence of the judiciary or the rights of lawyers who are trying to uphold criminal and constitutional norms.

He also remarked that the international community of lawyers needs to redouble its support for those left fighting at the front line attempting to protect their clients’ legitimate rights.This trial has continued through a period of substantial political and social upheaval in Turkey.

Read the full report attached that provides a full update on the rule of law in Turkey and the latest developments in the KCK lawyers’ trial. You can also take a look at previous developments here.