Turkish parliament commission approves bill opposed by lawyers’ groups

A draft bill proposed by Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) that would allow decentralisation of bar associations passed a parliamentary commission on Monday, state-run Anadolu news agency said.

The proposal approved by the Turkish parliament's Justice Commission says bar associations that have more than 5,000 members can split into other rival groups so long as they have at least 2,000 lawyers, Anadolu said.

The presidents of 80 bar associations began a march from their respective provinces towards the capital Ankara to protest the bill on June 20, saying that it was an attempt to silence lawyers critical of the AKP government.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party said on Monday it would apply to the country's top court for annulment of the legislation if the articles on decentralising bars are approved.

The bill is set to be put to a vote in parliament on Thursday, Anadolu said.