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Turkey – Justice and security

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Turkey – Justice and security

Candidate countries conduct negotiations with the European Union (EU) in order to prepare themselves for accession. The accession negotiations cover the adoption and implementation of European legislation (acquis) and, more specifically, the priorities identified jointly by the Commission and the candidate countries in the analytical assessment (or ‘screening’) of the EU’s political and legislative acquis. Each year, the Commission reviews the progress made by candidates and evaluates the efforts required before their accession. This monitoring is the subject of annual reports presented to the Council and the European Parliament.


Commission Report [COM(2011) 666 final – SEC(2011) 1201 – Not published in the Official Journal].


The 2011 Report presents a mixed picture concerning the justice and security of the country. With regard to the judiciary, advancements can be identified such as the adoption of legislation on the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors and on the Constitutional Court. Anti-corruption and the protection of human rights and minorities have not progressed very much, while uneven progress can be noted in the areas of justice, freedom and security.

EUROPEAN UNION ACQUIS (according to the Commission's words)

EU policies in the area of justice and home affairs aim at maintaining and developing the Union as an area of freedom, security and justice. On issues such as border control, visas, migration, asylum, police cooperation, combating organised crime and cooperation with regard to drug trafficking, customs cooperation and judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters, Member States need to be equipped to ensure that they are able to implement adequate standards and an increasing number of common rules. In order to do this, it is important first and foremost that the bodies responsible for applying the law and other competent bodies have robust and integrated administrative capacities which comply with the set standards. The setting up of a professional, reliable and efficient police force is of paramount importance. The Schengen acquis, which entails the lifting of internal border controls in the EU, is the most detailed element of the EU’s policies on justice, freedom and security. However, substantial parts of the Schengen acquis are implemented by the new Member States, following a separate decision taken by the Council after their accession.

EU policies relating to the judicial system and fundamental rights aim at pursuing and aiding the development of the Union as an area for freedom, security and justice. The establishment of an independent and efficient judicial system is of paramount importance. Impartiality, integrity and a high level of competency regarding the rulings made by courts are essential in maintaining the rule of law. This requires a firm commitment to eliminate all external influences on the judicial system and to dedicate the appropriate financial resources and training facilities to it. It is necessary to offer the necessary legal guarantees to ensure fair judicial procedures. Member States must also tackle corruption effectively insofar as it represents a risk to the stability of democratic institutions and the rule of law. It is necessary to establish a solid judicial framework and reliable institutions to which a coherent policy for preventing and dissuading corruption may be applied. Member States must ensure that the fundamental rights and the rights of EU citizens, as guaranteed by the acquis and the Charter for Fundamental Rights, are respected.

EVALUATION (according to the Commission’s words)

Progress has been made in the area of the judiciary. The adoption of legislation on the High Council of Judges and Prosecutors and on the Constitutional Court provides the framework for enhanced independence and impartiality of the judiciary. Measures have also been taken to improve the efficiency of the judiciary and address the increasing backlog of pending cases. Further steps are still needed in all areas, including the criminal justice system. Turkey has a large backlog of pending criminal serious cases while a large proportion of the prison population is not finally sentenced. In addition, implementation needs to be monitored, as measures taken to date have divided the country's legal community and civil society. Judicial proceedings are not sufficiently transparent. Courts and prosecution offices do not inform stakeholders or the public at large on issues of public interest. The judicial reform strategy needs to be revised with the participation of all stakeholders, the Turkish legal community and civil society.

The implementation of the strategy and the anti-corruption action plan is at an initial stage. Corruption remains prevalent in many areas. The lack of transparency of political party financing and the scope of immunities remain major challenges. Increased political support is needed in order to strengthen and implement the legislative framework on anti-corruption.

Concerning human rights and the protection of minorities, limited progress has been made. Significant efforts are needed in most areas, in particular freedom of expression and freedom of religion.

Progress achieved in the area of justice, freedom and security has been uneven. The adoption of the Law on Foreigners and International Protection remains a priority to ensure a sound legal basis for an efficient asylum and migration management system, as well as safeguards for the rights of migrants and refugees. There is only limited progress to report in the area of judicial cooperation in criminal and civil matters. Some progress can be reported in the area of drugs and organised crime. Limited progress can be reported in the area of police cooperation and terrorism. Limited progress has been achieved on visa policy and customs cooperation. Very limited progress can be reported in the area of border management where the key issues are the adoption of a law on the establishment of new Border Security Agency and inter-agency cooperation. Turkey remains an important country of transit and destination of irregular migrants. Efforts are needed to prevent irregular migration and to readmit irregular migrants.


Commission Report [COM(2010) 660 final – SEC(2010) 1327 – Not published in the Official Journal]. The 2010 Report presented substantial progress made in matters relating to immigration and asylum policy. Improvements had also been made in combating drug trafficking and in the area of customs cooperation. However, effort was still required concerning judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters, external border control, visa policy, combating organised crime and the fight against terrorism.

Commission Report [COM(2009) 533 final – SEC(2009) 1334 – Not published in the Official Journal].

The October 2009 Report noted that Turkey achieved uneven progress in its alignment with EU legislation. Limited progress was achieved in the areas of external borders and Schengen, as well as immigration and asylum. The system for asylum still needed to be reorganised. Only little progress was made on visa policy and none on judicial cooperation.

Commission Report [COM(2008) 674 final – SEC(2008) 2699 – Not published in the Official Journal]. The November 2008 Report indicated that alignment with EU legislation was underway and that some progress had been achieved, especially in the fight against drugs and human trafficking. However, efforts needed to be stepped up, in particular on visa policy, judicial cooperation in criminal matters and the fight against organised crime. Additional efforts also needed to be made on asylum, migration and border management issues.

Commission Report [COM(2007) 663 final – SEC(2007) 1436 – Not published in the Official Journal]. The November 2007 Report showed that Turkey had made progress in aligning its law with EU legislation and practice. Improvements had also been made in the fight against organised crime, money laundering and human trafficking. However, considerable efforts still needed to be made in the areas of police cooperation, external borders, migration and asylum.

Commission Report [COM(2006) 649 final – SEC(2006) 1390 – Not published in the Official Journal]. The November 2006 Report noted some progress, particularly in the areas of asylum, border management, the fight against human trafficking, as well as customs and police cooperation. Alignment with EU legislation in this chapter was under way, but considerable efforts were still needed in areas such as migration, the fight against organised crime, money laundering and judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters.

Commission Report [COM(2005) 561 final – SEC(2005) 1426 – Not published in the Official Journal]. The October 2005 report showed that Turkey had made progress in aligning its law with EU legislation and practice. Nevertheless, further progress was considered necessary in a number of important areas, such as implementation of the national action plan for alignment with the EU on illegal immigration and asylum, cooperation with the EU in combating illegal immigration and human trafficking, the national strategy to combat organised crime and the legislative framework for combating money laundering.

Commission Report [COM(2004) 656 final – SEC(2004) 1201 – Not published in the Official Journal]. In its October 2004 Report, the Commission recognised the progress made by Turkey in aligning its legislation with the EU law and practices. Further progress was needed in the reform of the judicial system, the fight against corruption and human trafficking and the control of illegal migration.

Commission Report [COM(2003) 676 final – SEC(2003) 1212 – Not published in the Official Journal]. The November 2003 Report noted that Turkey had made serious progress, particularly in improving and intensifying its cooperation with the EU and the Member States in a range of fields, such as the fight against illegal migration and organised crime. It still needed to implement the strategies already adopted and intensify its efforts to align its legal and institutional framework.

Commission Report [COM(2002) 700 final – SEC(2002) 1412 – Not published in the Official Journal]. The October 2002 Report noted that the country needed to step up its efforts to align its legal framework on data protection, combating illegal immigration, reinforcing border controls and adopting legislation on asylum and immigration. It also needed to improve coordination between law enforcement services and continue the reform of its legal system.

Commission Report [COM(2001) 700 final – SEC(2001) 1756 – Not published in the Official Journal]. In its November 2001 Report, the Commission noted that Turkey had made some progress in the field of justice and home affairs.

Commission Report [COM(2000) 713 final – Not published in the Official Journal]. In its November 2000 Report, the Commission noted that Turkey had made no significant progress in the field of justice and home affairs. Turkey still needed to make efforts to bring itself into line with Community law in the areas of combating fraud and corruption, the fight against drugs, as well as customs and judicial cooperation.

Commission Report [COM(1999) 513 final – Not published in the Official Journal]. The October 1999 Report stressed that, despite some improvements, progress still needed to be made, particularly on immigration and asylum (concluding readmission agreements, lifting the geographical reservation to the 1951 Geneva Convention), border controls (merging the various departments involved), the fight against organised crime (stepping up the fight against trafficking of human beings) and the fight against drug trafficking (increasing cooperation with the Member States). A number of international agreements on judicial cooperation in civil and criminal law still needed to be ratified.

Commission Report [COM(1998) 711 final – Not published in the Official Journal]. The November 1998 Report stated that the 1995 EC-Turkey Association Council resolutions provided for cooperation between the European Union (EU) and Turkey on justice and home affairs issues. Political considerations meant that these arrangements had remained in abeyance until 1998. In that year, a meeting was held in Brussels between the specialised Council committee and the Turkish authorities, where a number of topics relating to justice and home affairs were covered. The Commission stressed the need to develop active cooperation with Turkey on immigration.

See also

Last updated: 03.01.2012