Ebru Timtik Award Ceremony – June 14, 2021 – SPEECH by Mrs Dominique ATTIAS, President of the European Bars Federation


“Her death is a murder” reminds us Ceren Uysal, her Turkish friend and colleague, responsible for the association of progressive lawyers (CHD).

Ebru TIMTIK, her ardor, her courage, her smile, her eyes so lively underlined by voluntary eyebrows.

She is dead, carried in the ground by twelve of her colleagues, mourned by all of us.

Ebru TIMTIK loved life so much.

Fond of poetry and zaza music, she was claiming her kurdishness and loving Turkey, her country.

Nothing or no one could bring down this icon of the struggle for human rights in Turkey.

Look at her screaming “freedom” at the top of her lungs on the steps of this sinister courthouse that Stalin could have been proud of, a courthouse in the image of a dictator.

What has become of the Turkey that Ebru loved so much, the country of the sweetness of life that is now moving away in a mortifying way.

A country that now dares to state that the lawyer of a terrorist is a terrorist, the negation of the principles advocated by the countries that are part of the Council of Europe.

She was the joy of life and courage embodied. She was the one who assisted the family of Berkin ELVAN, a teenager who died in 2014 as a result of injuries received during the anti-government protests in Gezi Park in 2013.

She was also the one who stood by the families after the massacres of Kurdish civilians in CIZRE in January 2016.

Nothing and no one including Erdogan’s henchmen were afraid of this emblematic woman, Ebru Timtik, a reed that nothing could bend.

Once again she went into battle with sixteen of her colleagues, including her sister Barkin Timtik, to defend clients qualified as terrorists by the Turkish authorities.

She was appearing with her sister and fellow fighters on September 10, 2018 in front of the 37th Criminal Chamber of Istanbul Court at Barkikoy Courthouse during the CH2D2 trial.

I was there.

What a joy when I learned on my return from Turkey that on September 14, 2018 they had all been released, but what a disillusion the next day, when this same chamber decided, after an appeal by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, to return twelve of the released lawyers, including Ebru, to detention.

After a parody of a trial, she was -the court suddenly interrupting the debates- condemned to a heavy sentence: thirteen and a half years in prison and incarcerated on June 20, 2019 following this conviction.

Who could have imagined at that time that every day of detention would bring her closer to death?

For all of us, she was invincible.

On January 3, 2020, Ebru TIMTIK began a hunger strike to demand a fair trial and in particular that her appeals be examined.

On April 5 of the same year, she announced that she was turning her strike into a “death fast”.

Who keeps in memory her now tiny body and her big smile, the last image of her.

She had lost thirty kilos but continued to have faith in her fights, irreducible Ebru!

She died, her coffin covered with red carnations.

Did her colleagues that took her to her final resting place knew that the carnation is used as a symbol of women’s struggle for their rights?

Ebru was not fighting for her rights but for the rights of others, for the right to true justice for her clients, the right to live in a free country.

Death took her away on August 27, 2020. Since then we mourn and honor her as we do today.

All the Bars of Europe, for the first time together on September 7, 2020 at 12:00, stopped to express their solidarity, to think of her and to say that our support to the imprisoned lawyers will not weaken.

She took her leave and probably saved our colleague Aytac UNSAL who was incarcerated with her on hunger strike for 213 days.

He was released by the Turkish Supreme Court.

A final gift from Ebru.

She is here among us and asks us to continue to fight for the livings.

This is our message to the torturers.

The European Bars Federation, with its 250 Bars of the Council of Europe, will continue to support our courageous and unjustly imprisoned colleagues in Turkey and around the world.

Never, never, no matter how long the trials are, how many times they are postponed, no matter what the puppets at the head of your courts do, the lawyers of the world will never give up.

Ebru will stand by us no matter what you do.