The state and bar associations in Turkey: a study in interest-group politics
Özman, A. Aylin
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This study focuses on the state - bar association interface in Turkey. Bar associations are among the oldest professional associations in Turkey, dating back to the late Ottoman era. While conducting an historical analysis concerning the institutionalization of attorneyship as a profession, bar associations are analyzed as interest groups. Throughout the study, the judicio-legal sphere has been taken as the main arena of interface between bar associations and the state. The nature of the Turkish State, its extent of dominance within the judicio-legal sphere, and the institutionalization level of the bar associations have been perceived as the main determinants of the nature of the relationship in question. The study looks at the developments from the Tanzimat (Reform) Period of the late Ottoman period (1839-1876) to the present. It is concluded that the Turkish State has always had a superordinate position vis-a-vis the bar associations. The dominance of the State in the judicio-legal sphere has shaped the identity and goals of the bar associations, too. In their education and practice, attorneys came to be socialized into the norms of the state. This made bar associations impatient with their subordinate position vis-a-vis the state. Their dissatisfaction grew as bar associations were further institutionalized; the conflict between the latter associations and the state became more tense.