Turkish parliament ratified a bill in the wee hours on Saturday allowing the country’s bar associations to split into smaller groups.   

The ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party and opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) lawmakers backed the bill, while all other opposition parties opposed it. 

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) announced to challenge the bill in Turkey’s constitutional court. 

Last month, the AK Party submitted the legislation to regulate the country’s bar associations. 

Under the law, bar associations that have more than 5,000 members can split into other bar associations as long as they have at least 2,000 lawyers as members. 

Each bar association in the provinces will be represented by three delegates and a president in the General Assembly of Union of Turkish Bar Associations. 

Elections for bar associations would be held in the first week of September and in December for the General Assembly of the Union of Turkish Bar Associations. 

They would be held every two years for the bars and every four years for the union. 

On June 20, bar leaders marched toward the capital Ankara to protest the proposed changes. 

The police, which blocked them from entering the city, said they did not have a permit and were violating social distancing rules. 

Later, the marchers were allowed to visit Anitkabir, the mausoleum of the country’s founder, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

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