A statement by the Peoples Law Office – International Bureau regarding the imprisoned revolutionary lawyers in Turkey

February 03, 2021





Two lawyers in Turkey, two of our colleagues, Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal laid down their lives to tell the world a truth: that there is no law and no fair trial in Turkey. Ebru sacrificed her life, Aytaç sacrificed his health for this.

Ebru and Aytaç, together with 15 other colleagues, were jailed and sentenced to a total of 159 years in a trial which was not fair and had nothing to do with law. Our colleagues, bar associations and legal organizations from many parts of the world have witnessed this unlawfulness and injustice. This case, which complied with no law and was a political revenge trial, became one of the most important political cases in the history of Turkey. The political power clearly intervened at every stage of the case from beginning to end. It put pressure on the judges and prosecutors looking at the case, and ensured that decisions were made as it wanted.

At the first hearing of the case, all 17 lawyers were released, but the court, which gave the decision to release, revoked the release order of 12 lawyers after only 10 hours. And as a result of the pressure and threats of the political power, it decided to jail them again. However, the intervention of the political power in the case was so obvious and reckless that the arrest warrant was not enough to save the judges. The judges, who ordered the release, paid the price of this decision by being dismissed just two days after the decision. The court president and members of this committee were sent to other courts around the country and were punished. A specially selected delegation headed by Akın Gürlek was appointed to replace the dismissed judges.

The newly appointed Akın Gürlek was not an ordinary judge. He was a specially chosen person who ignored all legal principles and rules, and took on the role of an official acting in accordance with the orders and instructions of the political power rather than an independent and impartial judge. His unlawful decisions not only in this case but also in many similar cases have shown this.

This is why our two colleagues, the lawyers of the people Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal, did not bow to the lawlessness and injustice. They tried many ways to make their voices heard against the unlawful punishments imposed on them and their colleagues and to practice advocacy freely again. Lastly, they chose to resist, to go on hunger strike and death fast. Our two colleagues turned their hunger strike action, which they continued for days demanding a fair trial, into a death fast on April 5, 2020. They only wanted a fair trial. They demanded that the law be applied and a fair trial be held in line with the law. For this, they resisted by starving for hundreds of days.

The courts and the Court of Cassation, under the pressure of the political power, did not fulfill the justified demands of our colleagues. They continued the unlawfulness and injustice. As a result of this, our colleague Ebru Timtik became immortal on the 238th day of her death fast resistance on 27 August 2020 demanding a fair trial. Aytaç Ünsal was released on September 3, 2020, with the decision of the Supreme Court after the appeal review. The execution of his sentence was suspended until his health improved. In the same decision, the Court of Cassation decided to approve the unlawful penalties given to our colleagues without responding to any of the contradictory issues of the case and also without responding to any of the unlawfulness allegations put forward by our colleagues and lawyers.

With this decision, the Supreme Court, without any hesitation, ignored both the domestic law in Turkey (Constitution, Criminal Procedure Law, etc.) as well as the European Human Rights Convention. It decided to continue the injustice and lawlessness. It is clear that this decision was made under the pressure of the AKP government. Together with this decision of the Supreme Court, the trial process against 9 colleagues who are still in detention was completed and an individual application was made to the Constitutional Court with the request of determining the violations of the law experienced during the trial. The file is still before the Constitutional Court in order to examine the application requests.

The Constitutional Court, which is claimed to be the protector of the “democratic state of law” and the principles related to it, should make a decision that is far from the pressure of the political power and in accordance with the requirements of the law, unlike the previous local court and the court of appeal and the Supreme Court, it should restore the right to a fair trial and should pave the way for their release.

Our call is to all our colleagues, all bar associations and legal organizations who defend justice and the right to a fair trial, which our colleagues Ebru Timtik and Aytaç Ünsal defended with their lives. Let’s increase our solidarity with our captive colleagues and fight together for the freedom of our colleagues who have been illegally detained for more than three years.

Let us invite the Constitutional Court to implement the law and ensure the release of our colleagues from everywhere we are.


Peoples Law Office International Bureau



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