The overall objective of the Projects is to contribute to effective implementation of European human rights standards in Turkey. Its specific objective is to strengthen the capacities of Turkish bar associations and lawyers in the implementation of these standards.

The Project will support the bar associations in seven pilot provinces to strengthen the institutional capacities of their Human Rights Centres (HRCs) and to improve the coordination between them and the Union of Turkish Bar Associations (UTBA). It also aims at enhancing the capacities of lawyers to apply European human rights standards in their daily work and fostering the cooperation between the UTBA and HRCs of local bar associations and other national and international stakeholders working on the protection of fundamental rights. By achieving these results, bar associations and the UTBA, as one of the three pillars of judiciary, will play significant role in improving the situation with fundamental rights in Turkey.

The UTBA is a professional organisation with public institution status and serves as an umbrella organization representing local bar associations. Local bars are established in 79 provinces of Turkey and represent the lawyers practicing in these provinces. The UTBA is formed with the participation of all bar associations. The defence and protection of the rule of law and human rights is among their main tasks, according to articles 76 and 110 of the Turkish Code of Lawyers. For this purpose Human Rights Centres (HRCs) were established in the UTBA in 2001 and in most bar associations. The main objective of the HRC of the UTBA is to carry out professional, theoretical and practical researches and studies regarding the protecting and promoting the rule of law, fundamental rights and freedoms, at national and supra-national level. This work is essential for qualitatively monitoring of the development of the human rights situation in Turkey and serves as a basis for other attorneys to improve their work. In this context, the HRC of the UTBA produced several reports on various human rights issues. There is a need for improving of the institutional capacities of the HRCs in local bar associations, co-ordination among them and with the UTBA and their training capacities on human rights.

Local bar associations and the UTBA are in charge of initial training of lawyers; they organise conferences, seminars and other events for lawyers to update their knowledge on various legal aspects. It is a genuine interest both for the UTBA and local bar associations to strengthen the knowledge of lawyers on human rights issues.

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