Turkey: Areas of Freedom, Security, and Justice
On March 19, GMF, in cooperation with Istanbul's Koc University, and Germany's Research Center for International and European Law on Immigration and Asylum at University of Konstanz, organized a workshop on the topic of "Turkey in the Area of Freedom, Security, and Justice: Legal and Political Aspects". The workshop brought together German and Turkish academics of law and political science and practitioners in the executive, administrative and legislative branches of government and was chaired by Professor Hailbronner of University of Konstanz and Professor Ansay of Koc University.
In the first session entitled "Turkey in a European Area of Freedom, Security and Justice", representatives from the Turkish Ministry of Justice provided a detailed overview of the reform process in the areas of judiciary and fundamental rights. The subsequent presentations in this session were on freedom of expression. Dr. Silvia Tellenbach of the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law pointed out a comparison between Germany and Turkey, saying that Germany, on the one hand, limits freedom of expression for the sake of provisions for the protection of young persons and for the right to personal honor. Turkey, however, limits freedom of expression for the purposes of protecting national security, public order and public safety. She said limitations may exist but the reason behind the limitations may differ. Overall, it was calculated that freedom of expression is the only chapter of the European Convention on Human Rights that cannot be applied to all countries equally. Its application should take into account the country's history and culture.
In the second session, entitled "The European Convention on Human Rights", violations of human rights and the implementation of the Convention in Turkey were revisited. In the third session on "Post-September 11 Effects on the Civil Rights Debates in the EU and Turkey", Prof. Dr. Torsten Stein, from Saarland University, provided a brief overview of the reforms introduced in EU after the 9/11 attacks to combat terrorism. Suat Kiniklioglu, Director of GMF's Ankara Office, argued that the attacks did not have a direct impact on Turkey because the country had a long history of fighting against terrorism caused by PKK.
The final session entitled the "Fight against Terrorism and Illegal Immigration" featured remarks by Turkish officials and academics on the current visa regime in Turkey, as well as the successful measures taken by Turkey to protect its borders. In this session, Prof. Dr. Christoph Schönberger of University of Konstanz gave a presentation on the recent debate in Germany about shooting down an aircraft if assumed to pose threat to other citizens, which, consequentially, shed light on the dilemma between legislation and morality.