Turkey: Thousands of lawyers protest bar assocation draft bill outside Istanbul courthouse

Thousands of lawyers protested a bill proposed by Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party on Tuesday, that if passed, will regulate the size of bar associations in the country. According to party leadership, lawyers would be permitted to form new bar associations provided they have at least 2,000 members, thus breaking up the size of existing organisations with large membership numbers. «From here we will send a cry, a determination, send a resistance, we will send an awareness from here to Ankara. We said don't, don't divide us. Just like here, all the different opinions combined to say that,» said Mehmet Durakoglu, chairman of the Istanbul Bar Association, in a speech to the large crowd. Critics of the bill fear that it will create schisms in the legal profession along ideological and political lines, rather than the geographical divisions at the provincial level on which bar associations are currently based.

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