Turkish lawyers boycott presidential palace ceremony, citing violation of judicial impartiality

Source: Xinhua| 2019-08-18 19:15:29|Editor: xuxin
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ISTANBUL, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Dozens of bar associations across Turkey are for the first time boycotting an upcoming ceremony at the presidential palace to open the new judicial year, arguing it would violate the principle of judicial impartiality.

At least 42 provincial bar associations have recently announced that they would not attend the convention at the presidential palace in Ankara slated for Sept. 2.

The boycott was initiated by the Izmir Bar Association on Thursday, as the Supreme Court of Appeals was sending invitations to bar associations in 79 provinces.

Having the ceremony at a venue that belongs to the head of the executive branch would be against the principle of separation of powers and damage the impartiality of the justice system, the Izmir bar association said in a written statement.

"We are not in this game," the statement added, calling on others to join the boycott.

The move of having the ceremony at the presidential palace has sparked a severe judicial crisis in the country in terms of separation of powers, said Mehmet Durakoglu, chairman of the Istanbul Bar Association.

"We are seeking justice, aiming at re-establishing the rule of law in the country," he told Xinhua, arguing a presidential palace ceremony would open the door toward the "union of powers."

In his view, more provincial bar associations would join the boycott in the coming days.

The Union of Turkish Bar Associations, meanwhile, announced that its board of directors has decided to join the ceremony and its president Metin Feyzioglu will make an opening speech.

"We are fully confident that we can solve problems together by talking and communicating with each other," the union said in a written statement posted on its website.

The ceremony was first held at the Turkish presidential palace in 2016 following a failed coup in July the same year. In 2017, the venue was changed to another location in response to objections, but it returned to the palace in 2018.