Constitutional Court rejects CHP appeal against multiple bar associations law

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Turkey’s Constitutional Court on Thursday rejected an appeal for a stay of execution of a recently enacted law changing the structure of bar associations and allowing for multiple bar associations in a province, the T24 news website reported.

The objection was lodged by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) after the controversial legislation went into effect last week.

While the request for the stay was rejected, the Constitutional Court is also expected to review the content of the law and deliver a final judgment on it.

The disputed law is expected to strengthen small provincial bars at the expense of the large associations in major cities that are perceived to be more critical of the government, and it was passed despite strong objections by lawyers who took to the streets to protest what they viewed as a political encroachment on their profession.

The government’s plan was also criticized by rights groups such as Human Rights Watch and the International Commission of Jurists, who described it as a calculated move to divide the legal profession along political lines and diminish the biggest bar associations’ role as human rights watchdogs.

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