Cablegate: Supporting Human Rights and Democracy, 2003-4

Published: Thu 5 Feb 2004 01:44 PM
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
E.O. 12958: N/A
REF: 03 SECSTATE 333935
1. (U) In response to reftel, the following is Mission's
contribution to the 2003-4 edition of "Supporting Human
Rights and Democracy: the U.S. Record."
2. (U) Turkey is a constitutional republic with a multiparty
parliamentary system and a president with limited powers
elected by the single-chamber parliament, the Turkish Grand
National Assembly. In the November 2002 parliamentary
elections, the Justice and Development (AK) Party won the
majority of seats in a free and fair election and formed a
one-party government. In March, AK Chairman Recep Tayyip
Erdogan was named Prime Minister. In 2000, Parliament
elected Ahmet Necdet Sezer as President for a 7-year term.
The military exercised indirect influence over government
policy and actions in the belief that it was the
constitutional protector of the State. The Constitution
provides for an independent judiciary, and the general law
courts acted under a declared policy of independence; however
there were credible claims that the judiciary was sometimes
subject to influence by the military and bureaucracy.
3. (U) Members of the Mission routinely meet with
representatives of various political, religious, social,
cultural, and ethnic groups to discuss human rights
conditions and relations between these groups and the Turkish
State. Mission officials also meet regularly with members of
the bureaucracy, legislature, executive branch, and judiciary
to encourage broad reforms, including reforms needed to meet
EU accession criteria. The Mission focused on a broad range
of human rights fields, including: police and judicial
practices; religious freedom; freedom of expression;
government ethics; trafficking in persons; and the right of
return for internally displaced persons.
4. (U) In compliance with the Leahy Amendment, the Defense
Attache Office worked closely with the Ministry of Defense to
vet military units for U.S. training and checked candidates
with other Embassy offices.
5. (U) The GOT formally signed a USG memorandum of intent
(MOI) for anti terrorist training for law enforcement. Under
the MOI, which both the USG and GOT have been following in
principal in the absence of a formal agreement for almost a
decade, the USG will provide training organized through the
Mission while the GOT screens training candidates for human
rights violations.
6. (U) The Mission has emphasized the importance of
eliminating the climate of impunity for police who commit
torture by prosecuting and convicting police, and sentencing
them to jail terms. An indirect result of this pressure was
a court ruling to convict all 10 police defendants in the
high-profile Manisa torture case and sentence them to prison
terms. In addition, Parliament passed legislation
lengthening the statute of limitations for torture and
prohibiting courts from suspending or postponing sentences in
torture cases.
7. (U) The Mission works closely with NGOs to strengthen
civil society in Turkey. An important issue for Turkish NGOs
is their legal status vis--vis the GOT. The Mission
supported a conference on the NGO Legal Framework organized
by the Third Sector Foundation of Turkey (TUSEV) to enhance
advocacy for creating a regulatory framework friendly to
civil society. Douglas Rutzen, President of the Washington
D.C.-based International Center for Non-Profit Law (ICNL),
spoke at the conference and a series of meetings to help
TUSEV demonstrate to the government that its relationship
with NGOs could be mutually beneficial.
8. (U) The Mission worked with TUGIAD (the Young
Businessmen,s Association of Turkey) on a seminar on Ethics
and Government with IIP-sponsored Speaker David Apol,
Associate General Counsel in the U.S. Office of Government
Ethics. The seminar was designed to raise public awareness
of ethics issues and build support for the establishment in
Turkey of an office to implement a government ethics program.
Apol made a presentation at the AK Party headquarters and
was interviewed by the Turkish press.
9. (U) An American Council of Young Political Leaders
delegation visited Turkey for programs in Ankara and Istanbul
in conjunction with the ARI Movement, an NGO devoted to
democracy building. The visit was funded by the
Department,s Office of Citizen Exchanges.
10. (U) The Mission provided an Embassy officer, a former
defense attorney, as guest speaker for a Turkish National
Police workshop on crime scene investigation in the city of
Elazig in central Anatolia. Organizers were particularly
interested in the U.S. rules and procedures for handling
evidence gathered at the crime scene as it moves through the
criminal justice system, including police custody and courts.
The speaker approached the topic within the framework of the
U.S. Constitution, discussing such concepts as "due process
of law" and "chain of custody."
11. (U) The Embassy,s Political Counselor addressed the
topic of Turkish political, economic and social reform to a
major Turkish foreign policy association in Istanbul.
12. (U) The Mission helped bring two U.S. academics to the
International Political Science Association Meeting at
Bogazici University in Istanbul, who spoke on "U.S. Political
Systems, Elections, and Political Parties." At the Istanbul
University Forensic Science Institute, an IIP speaker gave
the keynote address for the Third European Academy of
Forensic Science Triennial Meeting.
13. (U) English instruction in Turkey helps build a
foundation for introducing Western concepts such as critical
thinking, student-centered classrooms, team-building, and
conflict resolution. The Mission has placed English Language
Fellows at eight universities throughout Turkey and the
Turkish military academy in Ankara. The single-country
English Language Officer conducts a full program of seminars,
workshops and speaker programs.
14. (U) The Mission works closely with the American Studies
Association of Turkey to strengthen teaching about the United
States at Turkish universities. The Fulbright Program in
Turkey, active since 1953, encompasses scholarly exchanges at
all levels, from students to senior teaching and research
scholars and includes high school teacher and administrator
exchange projects that take Turkish teachers and student
teachers into American classrooms and vice versa. The
Fulbright Program offers educational advising to Turkish
students who wish to study in the U.S. Turkey ranks number
eight among countries sending students to the U.S. During
International Education Week 2003, Fulbright conducted
outreach on study in the U.S. in southeastern Turkey.
15. (U) The International Visitor Program continues to
provide opportunities for professionals in all fields to be
introduced to the United States and American counterparts.
Two thirds of the 2003 IV participants joined projects
related to democracy and human rights (see appendix).
Single-country projects on Civic Education, Municipal
Government in the U.S., Human Rights and Legislation, and
NGOs and Municipalities were designed to give Turkish
contacts a focused look at democratic practices and human
rights issues.
16. (U) In 2001-2003, the Mission collaborated with the
Institute for the Study and Development of legal Systems
(ISDLS) on the Turkey-U.S. Legal Exchange Project to examine
Turkish and U.S. perspectives on freedom of expression,
police conduct, and trial alternatives in the criminal
justice process through a series of exchanges and seminars,
with funds from DRL and the Office of Citizen Exchanges.
This in turn created an opportunity for a joint U.S.-Turkish
reform effort aimed at these issues. Justice Mustafa Bumin,
President of the Turkish Constitutional Court, a key figure
in the ISDLS project, visited the U.S., and ISDLS personnel
visited Turkey to evaluate the project. ISDLS later proposed
a Turkish Legal Reform Initiative to the Office of Citizen
Exchanges, to develop specific measures to improve the
functioning of the judiciary, to be competed by the end of
17. (U) Through the Book Translation Program, which supports
the translation of important American works into Turkish,
many works on democracy and human rights have been available
in Turkish to the general public. In 2003, several works
were either published or brought to the printing stage for
imminent publication. A list is provided in the appendix.
The Ambassador established a relationship between the
Istanbul University Law School Alumni Club and the University
of Virginia Alumni Club whereby the Virginia Alumni Club
donates books to Istanbul University.
18. (U) The Ambassador, DCM, and Mission consular officials
meet regularly with Justice Ministry officials to improve
judicial treatment of Turkey,s obligations under the Hague
Convention on Child Abduction and ensure that Amcit child
abduction cases move as swiftly as possible through the court
19. (U) The Mission has also stressed the need to allow free
religious expression for all faiths. An indirect result was
the decision by Edirne authorities to rescind an order to
expropriate a property sacred to followers of the Baha,i
faith. The Ambassador and other Mission officials continue
to urge the GOT to re-open the Halki seminary on the island
of Heybeli.
20. (U) Mission officials urged the GOT to take greater
measures to combat trafficking in persons (TIP). As a
result, the GOT launched a number of initiatives in 2003,
earning a promotion from Tier III to Tier II in the
Department,s TIP report. The Mission continues to urge the
GOT to follow up on these initiatives.
21. (U) Speakers and Programs:
-- May 17 - 31: Special visitor program to U.S. for Justice
Mustafa Bumin, President of the Turkish Constitutional Court,
to familiarize him with U.S. judicial practices and human
rights issues. Grant to Meridian International Center from
Post funds ($28,360).
-- September 17-18: Turkish National Police Crime Scene
Investigation Workshop, with U.S. Embassy Speaker Charles
Blaha on "Crime Scene Investigation in the U.S.: Police
Practices and Legal Considerations," in Elazig. Post-funded.
-- September 22-27: U.S. Speaker James Lebeau, Professor,
Center for the Study of Crime, Delinquency and Corrections,
Southern Illinois University, keynote speaker for Third
European Academy of Forensic Science Triennial Meeting,
organized by Istanbul University Forensic Science Institute.
FY03 I-Bucks.
-- October 2-3: Institute for the Study and Development of
Legal Systems delegation visit to review, evaluate
DHRL-funded 2001-2002 Judicial Exchange Project. Grant to
ISDLS from Post funds (($31,989).
-- October 13-15: Support for International Political Science
Association meeting, Boagcizi University, with speakers Kay
Lawson, San Francisco State University, and Suzanne Rudolph,
University of Chicago, on "U.S. Political Systems, Elections,
and Political Parties Youth Branches," Istanbul. Grant to
Bogazici University from Post funds ($2,000).
-- November 1-11: ACYPL (American Council of Young Political
Leaders) delegation visits to Istanbul and Ankara; program in
conjunction with ARI Movement on democracy building and
participatory democracy. Funded by ECA Office of Citizen
Exchanges grant.
-- November 3-7: U.S. Speaker David Apol, U.S. Office of
Government Ethics, speaker for seminars and round tables on
"Ethics and Government," in Ankara and Istanbul. FY04
-- November 22: Political Counselor John Kunstadter delivers
address on Turkish reform to Arraoya Bir Foundation in
-- December 10-13: Speaker Douglas Rutzen, Senior Vice
President of International Center for Non-Profit Law (ICNL),
for TUSEV (Third Sector Foundation of Turkey) and History
Foundation conference on NGO Legal Framework, in Istanbul.
Grant to TUSEV from Post funds ($2,400).
22. (U) International Visitors Projects:
-- EYIPISIREN, Levent, Chairman, Minorities of Europe: MRP
"Foreign Policy and Human Rights Issues," January 16 -
February 6, 2003.
-- YALCINTAS, Murat, Member of Parliament, Justice and
Development Party (AKP): MRP "Accountability in Government
and Business," January 23 - February 13, 2003.
-- KAYA, Ayhan, Department of Political Science and
International Relations, Bilgi University: MRP
"Multi-Culturalism in a Democratic Society," April 24 - May
15, 2003.
-- CEYHAN, Mustafa, Member of the Board of Directors, IBS
Insurance Company:
MRP "Grassroots Democracy," July 31 - August 21, 2003.
-- TURKTAS, Ali, former leader, Konya branch, Motherland
(ANAP) Party: MRP "Young Leaders: U.S. Political, Social and
Cultural Issues," September 15-October 3, 2003.
-- AYDIN, Kamil and BESE, Ahmet, Chair and Deputy Chair,
Dept. of English Language and Literature, Ataturk University,
Erzurum: "American Studies," February 3-21, 2003.
-- DUMAN, Banu, National Coordinator for Council of Europe,
Board of Education, Ministry of Education; ERYUREKLI, Akn,
Expert on Civic Education Programs, Curriculum Board,
Ministry of Education; KAVRUK, Olcum, Director of Education
Park, Turkish Education Volunteers, Foundation; YUKSEL,
Guler, Managing Director, White Point Foundation: Group
project on "Civic Education in the U.S.," May 17 - June 13,
-- BILENSER, Erdogan, Mayor of Bursa; UYKUSUZ, Mahmut, Mayor
of Erzurum; YAVAS, Mansur, Mayor of Beypazari: "Municipal
Government in the U.S.," July 19 - August 9, 2003.
-- ESEN, Hamit , Chief, KOCAMAN, Habip, Legislation Expert,
KOCAK, Levent, Staff Expert, Turkish Grand National
Assembly, Laws and Resolutions Directorate: "Human Rights
Legislation," August 25 - September 12, 2003.
-- BINLER, Hayati, Real Estate Division Chief, General
Directorate of Foundations; BIRDEN, Emine Rana, Assistant
Project Coordinator, Civil Society Development Program;
KARAKUS, Haydar, Chief, Aquisition Department, Ankara
Metropolitan Municipality; SUCU, Ayse, Director, Women,s
Commission, Directorate of Religious Affairs: "NGOs and
Municipalities," August 25 - Sepetember 12, 2003.
-- KABASAKAL, Ramazan, Director, Department of International
Relations, Ankara Metropolitan Municipality: MRP "Civics
Education," October 23-November 13, 2003.
-- DEGER, Mesut, Member of Parliament, Republican People,s
Party (CHP)
"Law and Civil Society," January 20-February 8, 2004.
23. (U) Book Translation Program Projects:
-- Human Rights and You, compiled and edited by Frederick
Quinn (PAS).
-- The Third Wave: Democratization in the Late Twentieth
Century, Samuel P. Huntington (Turkish Democracy Foundation).
Reprinted in FY03.
-- Democracy and the Market, Adam Przeworski (Turkish
Democracy Foundation). Reprinted FY03.
-- Doing Democracy: The MAP Model for Organizing Social
Movements, Bill Moyer, Mary Lou Finley, Steven Soifer (ARI
-- Human Rights in International Relations, David P. Forsythe
(Ankara University Press).
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