Following the decision of nine bar associations across Turkey to boycott the opening ceremony of the new judicial year at the presidential palace in Ankara on the grounds that attendance would damage the independence of the judiciary, 32 other bar associations have also joined the boycott, bringing the total number to 41, according to Turkish media reports.
These bar associations declined invitations sent by the Supreme Court of Appeals to the opening ceremony of the new judicial year, which takes place at Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s palace in Ankara on Sept. 2.
In the meantime, the head of the Turkish Bars Association (TBB), Metin Feyzioğlu, who will attend the ceremony, said those criticizing him for his decision not to boycott the ceremony are people who don’t have any worries.
He said he is responsible for thousands of lawyers, adding: “It is not important what those who have no problems say. I care about what those who are after making a living say. Thousands of young lawyers in Turkey don’t even have enough money for a cup of tea.”
The independence of the Turkish judiciary came further into question when the new judicial year opening ceremony held at President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s palace in September 2016 turned into a display of judicial support for Erdoğan.
During the ceremony prosecutors and judges stood up and applauded Erdoğan when he entered the hall and when he finished his address.
Erdoğan’s government is accused of taking the judiciary under its absolute control and punishing dissenting judicial members either by expelling or arresting them.