In April 2020, the Ankara Bar Association criticised the Ministry for Religious Affairs for claiming that homosexuality and extramarital relationships spread illness in society. At the time, the Ankara Bar Association, criticised Ali Erbas’ retention of his position as the Chair of the Ministry for Religious Affairs after his comments about homosexuality and noted that “having retained his role despite the statements he has made about women and children, we shouldn’t be surprised if he goes on in future talks to invite the public to come out in a witch hunt with torches to burn women”.
In a further act of intolerance for any form of criticism, the Ministry of Justice has allowed an investigation into Ankara Bar Association.
The Chairman of the Bar Association in Ankara, Erinc Sagkan, has replied defiantly saying “There is nothing in our statement which insults religious values. (…) What we wrote is clear. It does not constitute crime. In response to the targeting of a particular group, as a Bar Association which understands human rights and our responsibilities, we reminded the Chair of the Ministry for religious Affairs the human rights contained in our constitution and in the European Convention on Human rights. We are not scared of this investigation. Our actual concern is the independence of the judiciary. It has to be said that in the 2020 Rule of Law Index we are 107 out of 128 countries”.