31 Jan., 2013, Global Post
It has never been as dangerous to be a human rights lawyer in Turkey as it is now.
So says Güray Dağ, a member of the Progressive Lawyers’ Association (ÇHD): the 2,500 Turkish lawyers who routinely take on the country’s highest-profile cases against police brutality, hate crimes, civil rights violations and baseless arrests.
Twelve of their members, including the head of the association, the head of its Istanbul branch, and several other ÇHD executives, were arrested on Jan. 18 in an anti-terror operation that brought 85 people into custody.
The police detained leftists of all stripes — students, teachers, community activists, musicians, journalists, and lawyers — on charges of belonging to the Revolutionary Peoples’ Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), a militant Marxist group aiming to overthrow the Turkish government. Thirty of the detained, including Dağ and two other ÇHD lawyers, were released following interrogations, but the others expect to wait at least six months in custody for their first hearing.
Police and prosecutors have touted the operation as one of Turkey’s strongest blows at the DHKP-C’s secret collaborators yet. But to local critics and international human rights organizations, the case is a new low in the Turkish government’s arbitrary wielding of anti-terror laws against political dissidents.