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Working visit to the Federal Office of Justice on international legal assistance in civil matters
General – Conceptual orientation
Legal policy starting point
2013 was a turbulent year for Turkey. Major demonstrations were triggered by the controversies that were sparked by a construction project planned by the Government in Istanbul's Gezi Park. The protests spread to all major Turkish cities and developed into a general protest movement organised by opposition forces against the policies of the Government. This further increased the political polarisation which is already affecting Turkey. Several months later, after the unrest had settled, there were clashes at the end of the year within the alliance of the governing AK Party which led to staff-related and institutional restructuring within the police and judicial apparatus. The focus is on the role of the Ministry of Justice as well as on the significance and staffing of two key institutions in the Turkish judiciary: the Justice Academy, which is responsible for basic and further training of legal experts, as well as the High Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors. There is furthermore argument on the question of controlling information via the Internet. The turbulent political situation admittedly affects the reform process in the Turkish judiciary, which has been going on for several years. For instance, the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors, as well as the self-governing body of the Turkish judiciary, was only recently strengthened by the reform pack-age in 2010 as a guarantor of the independence of the judiciary. It is to be hoped that the political situation in Turkey will stabilise in the long term.
Cooperation to date – strategy
Bilateral cooperation with Turkey began in 2007. The IRZ has been supporting the complex judicial reform in Turkey ever since. A constant stream of new partners have been obtained in recent years and cooperation has been expanded. Work has concentrated on the introduction of the constitutional complaint, on fundamental issues related to criminal procedure law, on the fight against cybercrime as well as on mediation. In addition to its bilateral work, the IRZ is also highly active in Turkey in the field of EU twinning projects. Six twinning projects were implemented with the Turkish partners in 2013. These supplement and continue the bilateral work. In the interest of sustainability, the IRZ continues to work with the Turkish partners after the projects have come to an end. For instance, a follow-up project to the twinning project on the law on patents, designs and trademarks, which was successfully implemented with the Turkish Patent Office from 2009 to 2011, has been operated on a bilateral basis since 2012. The Supreme Court (Yargitay) as well as the Federal Patent Court are also involved.
Ministry of Justice
High Court of Turkey
Council of State
Istanbul Kültür University
Ankara Bilkent University
University of Istanbul
National Chamber of Notaries
High Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors
Foci of activity in 2013
Constitutional law / human rights and their enforceability
Seminar "German case-law of the Federal Constitutional Court on individual applications"
Civil and commercial law
Study visit by a delegation from the Court of Cassation of the Republic of Turkey on the topic of "Legal provisions on intellectual property in Germany"
Study visit on patent law for Turkish patent lawyers
Study visit by a delegation from the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Turkey on the topics of "child abduction" and "mutual assistance"
Conference on the practical enforcement of industrial property rights in Turkey
TAIEX event on intellectual property
Criminal law and the law on the prison system
Seminar on the topic of "Judicial fundamental rights and criminal procedure law"
Exchange between the Federal Court of Justice and the Court of Cassation of the Republic of Turkey (Yargitay) on the topic of "violence against women"
TAIEX study visit by a Turkish delegation on the topic of "Internet crime"
Seminar on the topic of "Fundamental rights in criminal and criminal procedure law"
TAIEX study visit by a delegation from the Turkish Ministry of Justice on the topic of "Victims' rights"
Study visit by a delegation from the Court of Cassation of the Republic of Turkey on the topic of "Sex offences"
Study visit by a Turkish delegation on interrogation methods and questioning techniques in criminal and other investigations
Twinning project (in cooperation with the Federal Criminal Police Office) with the Turkish police as a junior partner of the Austrian Security Academy and the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights on preventing disproportionate use of force
Twinning project on witness protection with the Turkish police
Twinning project on lawyers' training with the Turkish Justice Academy
Twinning project on cybercrime with the Turkish police
Twinning project with the Turkish Ministry of Justice on the introduction of press spokespersons for the judiciary
Twinning project with the Turkish Ministry of Justice on court experts
The IRZ will be continuing its cooperation with the Turkish partners in 2014. There are plans amongst other things for events on the topics of the constitutional complaint, mediation, criminal proceedings and the protection of industrial property rights. Five twinning projects will continue to be implemented in 2014 in the fields of lawyers' training, the judiciary and the media, court experts, witness protection and cybercrime. Partners include the Ministry of Justice, as well as the Turkish police and the Gendarmerie.