Deputy Prime-Minister and Government Spokesperson Bekir Bozdağ has come into conflict with the Yozgat Bar Association of which he is a member due to the state of emergency and decrees with the force of law. Yozgat Bar Association has initiated disciplinary proceedings involving an investigation into Bozdağ, the subject of a complaint asserting that decrees with the force of law he signed are incompatible with rules and ethics of the profession of lawyer.
Bekir Bozdağ, who served as Justice Minister in the period in which the state of emergency was proclaimed in the aftermath of the 15 July coup attempt, is the subject of a complaint to Yozgat Bar Association where he is registered as a lawyer over the decrees with the force of law number 667 and 668 which he signed. İsmail Sami Çakmak, Attorney-at-Law, complained about Bozdağ, indicating that the decrees with the force of law that he signed on 12 November 2016 dealt irreparable blows to the profession of lawyer. Even if the bar association administration turned a blind eye to the complaints, one year of persistent struggle by Çakmak has seen a disciplinary investigation launched into Bozdağ.
In his submission, Çakmak, recalling that Bozdağ’s signature also appears beneath the decrees with the force of law, commented, “It is inconceivable and unacceptable for a lawyer to play a role in restrictions on and usurpations of the scope of the profession of defence and defence, and moreover in an effective and authorised manner. One of the most basic principles and indispensable aspects of being a lawyer is to preserve the honour, order and traditions along with the esteem of the practicing of the law and to ensure that the profession is conducted in accordance with its aims and requirements. The continuation of Bozdağ’s bar association panel record will lead to the result that the bar association is giving prior permission and turning a blind eye to breaches of the law and statute and the content and provisions of decrees with the force of law.”
Çakmak, having asked for Bozdağ’s name to be removed from the bar association panel, found that no reply was forthcoming from the bar association administration for months. Çakmak, intent on doing legal battle with Bozdağ, remade his submission on 30 November 2017 without touching a single comma. Çakmak, reminding the bar association of the provision in the Attorneyship Law Regulation, “The administrative board must pass a resolution on disciplinary proceedings speedily and within no more than one year of the date of a complaint, report or request,” called on Yozgat Bar Association to launch an investigation into Bozdağ and remove him from the profession, stating that the decrees with the force of law dealt a blow to the profession of lawyer.
Complaint to the Union of Turkish Bar Associations
With no reply forthcoming to his complaint by January 2018, Çakmak also complained about the Yozgat Bar Association administration to the Union of Turkish Bar Associations. Çakmak, noting that the failure to reply to him within one year was contrary to the law, called for Bozdağ’s removal from the profession and the imposing of a disciplinary penalty on the bar association administration. Çakmak received a reply to his application over Bozdağ following 450 days. It has emerged that Yozgat Bar Association resolved to launch a disciplinary investigation into Government Spokesperson Bozdağ on 16 November 2017, prior to the statutory one-year deadline.
Since, according to the regulation, conduct in breach of the Attorneyship Law and professional rules necessitates a disciplinary investigation, the disciplinary board will conduct the initial investigation into Bozdağ on a documentary basis. According to the law, should Bozdağ wish or the disciplinary board see fit, the investigation can also be conducted through a hearing. The disciplinary board which will examine the complaint over conduct contrary to professional honour will apply to Bozdağ one of the provisions ranging from cautioning Bozdağ, meaning that he must act more carefully in practising the profession, to a reprimand, indicating that he has been deemed at fault in his profession and conduct, a fine ranging from 10,000 to 150,000 lira, removal from post or removal from the profession, which in the latter case will lead to his name being removed from the bar association panel and his being stripped of the title of lawyer.
Bozdağ under bar association investigation over decrees with the force of law