'Radical' Shift in Turkey's Judiciary ; in a Bid to Join the EU, Turkish Judges and Prosecutors Are Being Trained in the Fundamentals of Human Rights Law

By Yigal Schleifer Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor | The Christian Science Monitor, June 2, 2004 | Go to article overview

'Radical' Shift in Turkey's Judiciary ; in a Bid to Join the EU, Turkish Judges and Prosecutors Are Being Trained in the Fundamentals of Human Rights Law


Yigal Schleifer Contributor to The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor


When a pro-Kurdish politician accused ofsupporting a terrorist organization was acquitted recently, the verdict made front-page news here. "Radical," was how the daily Milliyet described the case.

The nation's State Security Courts (DGMs), tribunals that handle terrorism and political cases, cited European human rights law as the basis of the decision. In doing so, they marked a fundamental shift in the way Turkey's legal system is beginning to operate.

"The DGMs Say Hello to Europe," the newspaper's headline read. But the two courts are not the only parts of the judiciary saying "hello" to Europe. Over the past few months, some 9,200 judges and prosecutors have been trained- in the largest program of its kind in Turkey - in the basic foundations of human rights law. It is a massive effort to help the country adopt a model more in line with European standards.

The program, a project of the Turkish Ministry of Justice and the European Union, is one of numerous reforms undertaken by Turkey as it continues its bid to join the EU. One of the largest obstacles on the road to Brussels, thus far, has been the spotty human rights record of its criminal justice system.

"This [training program] is part of being contemporary. At a certain point you have to respect human rights," says Demet Gural, executive director of the Human Resources Development Foundation. "I wouldn't have imagined 10 years ago that the Ministry of Justice, for example, would be conducting human rights training for its staff."

Reforms have ranged from ending the death penalty to loosening the military's control over civil affairs. Hoping to receive a positive answer from the EU this year about when accession negotiations may begin, Turkey has been passing reform packages at a rapid clip.

So rapid, in fact, that the terrorism trial against 69 people accused of helping organize the deadly Istanbul bombings last November was stopped as soon as it began in a state security court Monday. The defense argued that the case was not valid, since such DGMs are soon to be replaced with new tribunals more in line with European norms.

Organizers of the human rights training program say they are trying to bridge an educational gap that some Turkish jurists may have. "In Turkish law schools, in their old program, there were no courses in human rights," says Ebru Dabbagh, the training program's coordinator. "They learned about human rights as a small part of the penal code or through international law, but they did not learn about it in detail."

International standards

Haluk Mahmutogullari, a judge who heads the Ministry of Justice's training division, says that although Turkish judges and prosecutors are not unaware of international human rights standards, the practical application of those standards has sometimes failed.

"For the last years Turkey has been punished by the European Court of Human Rights quite often," he says, "which meant that we definitely should do something about it and find what we were doing wrong. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

'Radical' Shift in Turkey's Judiciary ; in a Bid to Join the EU, Turkish Judges and Prosecutors Are Being Trained in the Fundamentals of Human Rights Law
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.