Lawyer Aytaç: We are really living in an age of dictatorship, pressure

5 February 2018

Kemal Aytaç, a lawyer known as the organizer of the weekly Justice Watch picketing protest against the mass arrest of journalists, activists and others, was at Istanbul's Çağlayan Courthouse on 5 February to testify in an investigation into him launched for supporting a statement by Turkish Medical Association (TTB) doctors which criticized the military operations of the Turkish government in Afrin, a Kurdish enclave in Syria. 

Eight doctors are currently in police custody for speaking against the military operation. According to reports, a detention warrant was issued on 2 February for Aytaç, who read the statement in a Justice Watch protest to show solidarity with the detained doctors. His home was searched by police on the same day. 

A large number of lawyers, including the head of the Istanbul Bar Association  Mehmet Durakoğlu, were at the courthouse to support Aytaç. Chief Prosecutor Hasan Yılmaz said there was no detention warrant for Aytaç, Evrensel reported. Several court reporters MLSA has talked to that it is very uncommon for a person's home to be searched without a detention warrant. 

At a press statement he made at the Courthouse where Justice Watch participants gathered for the 44th time, Aytaç said: "We are really living in an age of dictatorship and pressure."

Stating that he was feeling that the 45th Justice Watch next week might not be allowed at all. Noting that the TTB statement was a most "human and universal" declaration that can be accepted by everyone, Aytaç said: "It was an example of the recent practices we see that my home was raided even though both the police and I are at the courthouse today. Today, they called me from the police department and said there was no detention warrant out for me. The deputy prosecutor also told me that there is a probe into me but that there is no detention warrant for me. We really are living in a period of dictatorship, pressure. People are being rounded up and taken into detention without questioning with various excuses, their homes are being raided." However, he said he and his colleagues were determined to continue their dignified stane. "We are not afraid," he said.


Heads of the Van Bar Association, Artvin Bar Association and Diyarbakır Bar Association also spoke in support of Aytaç.

The TTB statement referred to war as "damaging to public health."