30 Nov 2015

Turkish local bar president shot dead in southeastern city

A leading Turkish lawyer was shot dead yesterday after making a speech urging for a cessation of hostilities between Turkish security forces and Kurdish separatists.

Globe Turner

Tahir Elci was president of the bar association in the Southeastern city of Diyarbakir. He was put under arrest last month for airing his opinion on a television programme that the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party should not be classified as a terrorist organisation by the Turkish state. In a letter to the Turkish government,  the England and Wales Law Society president Jonathan Smithers expressed alarm at the arrest and concern that lawyer’s entitlement to freedom of expression, as set out in Article 23 of the UN Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, may not be being adhered to.

'We do not want guns' 

In alarming scenes, news agencies report that Mr Elci was killed during a gun battle between police officers and a unknown gunman who attacked a rally in the mostly Kurdish city. Before he was fatally shot, Mr Elci had concluded his speech in which he had said: ‘We do not want guns, clashes and operations here,’


In response to the tragedy, the Diyarbakir Bar Association publicly condemned 'this cowardly attack against our president'. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has confirmed he will launch a ‘transparent’ investigation into the shooting. Source: The Law Society Gazette