PM urged to challenge Erdogan on Human Rights in Turkey

27 January 2017

The Bar Human Rights Committee (BHRC) and the Bar Council have today urged Prime Minister Theresa May to address ongoing human rights violations in Turkey when she meets with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan this Saturday.

In an open letter to the Prime Minister, BHRC and the Bar Council have highlighted the systematic persecution of lawyers and judges in Turkey, particularly in the months following the unsuccessful coup of 15 July 2016.

The letter is also critical of the imprisonment of elected representatives, the suppression of free speech and the ongoing violence against South-East Turkey's Kurdish minority. BHRC and the Bar Council describe the Turkish government's actions as "an egregious attack on democracy itself".

Chairwoman of BHRC, Kirsty Brimelow QC said:"Turkey's massive and disproportionate response to the attempted 2016 coup is now itself subverting the very same democratic values its government should be seeking to uphold.

"We hope the Prime Minister will agree that the battle against terrorism in Turkey, and indeed everywhere, is most effectively conducted while fully upholding human rights. We urge her to share this view with President Erdoğan when they meet."



Notes to editors 

  1. Further information is available from the Bar Council Press Office on 020 7222 2525 and

  2. The Bar Council represents barristers in England and Wales. It promotes: 

  • The Bar's high quality specialist advocacy and advisory services

  • Fair access to justice for all

  • The highest standards of ethics, equality and diversity across the profession, and

  • The development of business opportunities for barristers at home and abroad. 

The General Council of the Bar is the Approved Regulator of the Bar of England and Wales. It discharges its regulatory functions through the independent Bar Standards Board 

About the Bar Human Rights Committee 

  1. The Bar Human Rights Committee was founded in 1991, by the former Chairman of the Bar Council of England and Wales, Anthony Scrivener QC.  

  2. BHRC currently has around 200 members, all of whom are barristers called to the Bar of England and Wales, trainees, law students or academics.  

  3. BHRC's mission is to protect and promote international human rights through the rule of law, by using the international human rights law expertise of the UK's most experienced and talented human rights barristers.