Turkey has prosecuted more than 1,500 attorneys, arresting 599 of them, on terrorism charges, since a 2016 failed coup, according to a newly released report from The Arrested Lawyers initiative.
As of Sept. 1, 321 lawyers had been sentenced to a total of 2,022 years in prison for terrorist group membership or disseminating terrorist propaganda.
Turkey survived a coup attempt in 2016, after which a two-year-long state of emergency was declared by the government, which accuses the faith-based Gülen movement of orchestrating the abortive putsch.
The Gülen movement strongly denies any involvement.
The state of emergency measures are still at work in the country’s judiciary as mass detention continue.
“Lawyers have particularly been targeted due to the identity or affinity of their clients,” the report said.
Dozens of lawyers who were defending Gülen-linked suspects have been arrested due to alleged Gülen ties in the last three years.
The report also said Turkey undermined the independence of bar associations with a presidential degree that gives the Turkish president the authority to dismiss chairpersons or board members of bar associations.
Still, more than 50 bar associations on Monday boycotted a ceremony marking the opening of the new judicial year at the presidential palace, stating that attending the event would jeopardize their independence.
The report criticized the Justice Ministry for preventing judges and prosecutors who were dismissed by government decrees during the state of emergency from working as private lawyers.
Turkey has sacked more than 4,000 judges and prosecutors since the failed coup.