Ekrem Dönmez, head of the Hatay Bar Association, was briefly detained by the police while dining with his family at a restaurant on Wednesday evening, the Diken news website reported.
In a video widely circulated on Turkish social media, Dönmez was seen being approached by a group of police officers who asked for his identification. He refused and demanded that the officers present a written order justifying their inquiry. Dönmez was ultimately taken away by the officers.
The Hatay police department released a statement on the incident, highlighting the relevant provision in Turkish law that obligates every citizen to present identification whenever requested by the police. The statement also accused Dönmez of “preventing public officials from carrying out their duty,” which is punishable under the law.
Upon his release Dönmez told the press that the officers were required to produce written justification given that the ID check was being carried out indoors.
“There have been incidents where people were abducted by individuals disguised as police officers,” Dönmez said. “In enclosed spaces, a written order should be shown to the citizen. It is an obligation.”
The Turkish Bar Association (TBB), the umbrella organization representing local bar associations, also released a statement condemning Dönmez’s treatment and calling for an investigation into the officers involved.