Ankara Bar Association confronts Constitutional crisis
The legal community in Turkey is making its voice heard in a robust show of solidarity and resistance against what is perceived as an encroachment on the nation's constitutional framework. Members of the Ankara Bar Association have taken to the streets in a determined march to the Supreme Court of Appeals, following the 3rd Criminal Chamber of the Court of Cassation's controversial move to file a criminal complaint against Constitutional Court members who had previously ruled in favor of imprisoned MP Can Atalay.
"We are marching to the Supreme Court of Appeals against the Supreme Court's attempt to liquidate the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey," announced the Ankara Bar Association as it rallied its members and supporters to the cause. The march, which commenced at the Ankara courthouse, was marked by chants of "Law cannot be a plaything of politics" and "No to the coup," ringing out from the crowd of determined legal professionals.
Despite police instructions to limit the march to a delegation of 15, the undeterred group pushed on from Necatibey Street with a resounding declaration, "We will march to the Supreme Court of Appeals." Their journey carried them down Gençlik Street with continued chants of "Rights, Law, Justice."
The march, which spanned approximately one hour, saw the lawyers navigate along İsmet Inonu Boulevard, where one lane was closed to facilitate their passage. The destination was the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB) building, where a brief respite was taken. Reinforced by more colleagues, lawyers resumed their journey to the Court of Cassation with renewed vigor, their robes and Constitution books serving as symbols of their steadfast commitment to the rule of law.
Erinc Sagkan, President of the Union of Turkish Bar Associations, spoke emphatically about the gravity of the situation. "We have a historical responsibility," he declared, emphasizing the importance of protecting the Constitution and the constitutional order. Sagkan called upon the judiciary to resolve the crisis from within, highlighting the independence and impartiality of the legal system.
As the march concluded its final 100 meters, the lawyers prepared for a press statement at Ahlatlibel Atatürk Park, across from the Constitutional Court. The demonstration was not without political support, as CHP (Republican People's Party) Chairman Ozgur Ozel joined the march, expressing his concerns over the current constitutional turmoil and accusing the AKP of attempting to subvert the constitutional order under Recep Tayyip Erdogan's leadership.
The impetus for these events was the sentencing of Can Atalay to 18 years in prison in the Gezi Park trial, followed by his subsequent election as an MP from TİP. The 3rd Criminal Chamber of the Court of Cassation's refusal to suspend or review Atalay's trial prompted the Constitutional Court to rule in favor of Atalay, leading to the current standoff and the Court of Cassation's retaliatory complaint against Constitutional Court members.