The Human Rights Center of the Ankara Bar Association prepared a report regarding the allegations that some suspects were tortured in detention at the Ankara Security Directorate in the capital city.

As the administration of the Ankara Bar Association has not shared the report with the public, six members of the center, including two vice chairs, have resigned. The resignation of the members came after negotiations between the Bar administration and the Human Rights Center.


Resigning as a result of this disagreement, lawyers have accused the Ankara Bar Association's administration of "staying silent to several violations of human rights" and "censorship." They have noted that the failure to release the report has been the "last straw" for them.

According to the lawyers who have resigned, the Bar administration has also censored the Human Rights Center's statements concerning the Saturday Mothers case, the health condition of Kurdish politician and ill prisoner Aysel Tuğluk, European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) judgments against Turkey and the court cases regarding military students.

While Ankara Bar Chair Kemal Koranel has dismissed the allegations of censorship, the lawyers who resigned from the Human Rights Center have noted that the problems began after Erinç Sağkan, the former Ankara Bar Association Chair, was elected the Chair of the Union of Turkish Bar Associations and a new administration came into office at the Ankara Bar.

In the face of these allegations, Ankara Bar Chair Koranel has said, "We have done our part about human rights and freedoms. We have filed a criminal complaint to the prosecutor's office regarding the allegations of torture upon the related report. Our Human Rights Center has prepared 13 similar reports so far. Only one of them has been published. We do not have a procedure [stipulating] publication in our directives."

Censored findings

The lawyers who have resigned from the Human Rights Center have claimed that after they followed the court case where Saturday Mothers, who have been asking the fate and whereabouts of their enforced disappeared loved ones for decades, the Center prepared a statement, but the expression of "...enforced disappearances will be closely followed" was omitted by the administration of the Ankara Bar Association.

In another incident cited by the lawyers, the Center requested that a statement be released about the health condition of Aysel Tuğluk, an ill prisoner and a former MP of the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), but the Ankara Bar administration allegedly rejected this request as well.

According to the lawyers, when the two ECtHR judgments of rights violation on Nazlı Ilıcak and discharged judges wanted to be added to the Bar's bulletin, this request was also rejected by the administration.

The last disagreement came when the evaluations regarding the trial of military students were not added to the human rights bulletin. With the report on torture censored, the Ankara Bar Association administration did not make a statement laying claim to the Human Rights Center.

Law groups: Bar should release the report

Against this backdrop, the Lawyers for Justice, Progressive Lawyers' Association (ÇHD) Ankara Branch, Lawyers for Democracy, Lawyers' Solidarity, Social Law and Lawyers for Freedom (ÖHD) Ankara Branch have released a statement and said that "the Ankara Bar Administration must fulfill the requirements of the responsibility that it has assumed and release the report prepared to make the crime of torture visible."

The law groups have underlined that the Ankara Bar "should fulfill the requirements of the human rights struggle."