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.
- The website of the Directorate-General for Enlargement, Enlargement Strategy and Progress Reports 2011