A letter from Istanbul – Mr Erdogan the world is watching you

It’s not really to do with law in the usual sense, but Turkey is a country whose legal system has had a great deal of criticism over the years.  I make no comment as to whether all of it was fair or unfair but I would like  to invite readers of Barristerblogger to visit Istanbul in these stirring, and rather worrying,  days.  Have a look at this blog (alright the writer is my daughter) and you can feel the tear gas at the back of your throat.Turkey is not Syria, Erdogan is not Assad and tear-gas is not sarin.  Erdogan was democratically elected (albeit with question marks over the fairness of the election) and he counts many decent moderate people amongst his supporters.  Ironically, one objection that is made by some protestors is that he has involved his country too much in Syrian affairs by speaking out against Assad.

But anybody who hopes that Turkey can remain a beacon of democracy, if a flawed one, must hope that he heeds the protestors who are demanding that he checks his authoritarian tendencies before it is too late.

There have been many arrests and we must do our best within our limited means to make sure that all those arrested are treated fairly and if they have committed no crimes released as quickly as possible.

Many have been arrested over tweets they have sent, and it seems that in many cases those arrests have been unjustified.  Anybody who wants to follow developments can do so on Twitter using #occupygezi.

Mass protests of this sort often start with a carnival atmosphere but have a nasty habit of ending in horrible bloodshed.  Let us hope that does not happen.

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Author: Matthew

I have been a barrister for over 25 years, specialising in crime. You may also have come across some of my articles I have written on legal issues for The Times, Standpoint, Daily Telegraph or Criminal Law & Justice Weekly

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