Country of Origin Information Report

iv. Penal Courts of the Peace (Sulh Ceza Hakimliği)

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iv. Penal Courts of the Peace (Sulh Ceza Hakimliği)
This is the lowest penal court with a bench of one judge. There is one in every ilce, but it is sometimes divided into several branches according to the need and population. There are 840 such Courts in Turkey. They have jurisdiction over penal and municipal misdemeanors and all acts assigned by the Criminal Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Code on the Application of the Criminal Code, and by other laws according to the assignment or to the degree of punishment stated by them. [18]
v. Penal Courts of First Instance (Asliye Ceza Hakimliği)
Among the penal courts, this Court with a single judge handles the essential local criminal work. Its jurisdiction covers all penal cases excluded from the jurisdiction of the Penal Court of the Peace and the Central Criminal Court. There is one in every il and in every ilce, sometimes divided into several branches according to the need and population. Therefore, at the moment there are 899 such Courts in Turkey. [18]
vi. Central Criminal Courts (Ağır Ceza Mahkemesi) (commonly referred to as ‘Heavy Penal Courts’)
This court consists of a presiding judge and two members with a public prosecutor. Offenses and crimes involving a penalty of over five years of imprisonment, or capital punishment are under the jurisdiction of this Court of which there is one in every il. But it is sometimes divided into several branches according to the need and population. There are 172 Central criminal courts throughout Turkey. [18]

vii. State Security Courts (Develet Güvenlik Mahkernesi)/Regional Serious Felony Courts (sometimes referred to as ‘Specialised Heavy Penal Courts’)

As noted in the European Commission Regular Report on Turkey’s progress Towards Accession 2004, the State Security Courts have been abolished and replaced by Regional Serious Felony Courts (also referred to as Heavy Penal Courts). According to the previous law, State Security Courts used to handle the criminal offenses described in Article 9 of the said law which were about the security of the state. They consisted of a presiding judge and two members with a public prosecutor. There were 12 such Courts throughout Turkey. [18]
viii. Execution Investigation Authority (Icra Tetkik Hakimliği)
A court with a single judge which has jurisdiction over disputes arising during the execution of all civil sentences and judicial decrees; over all acts obstruction or rendering difficult the execution of all civil sentences and judicial decrees. There is one such Court in every ilce in Turkey. [18]
ix. Other Lower Courts
In addition to the ordinary courts, there are 72 courts in Turkey which handle labor disputes; 443 courts which handle land registrations and surveys and 6 courts which handle traffic disputes. There are also 5 juvenile courts in Turkey. [18]
x. The Court of Cassation (Yargitay)

The highest appellate court in Turkey is called the Court of Cassation. It is divided into 30 chambers according to their particular specialized field. There are 20 civil chambers, 10 penal chambers. Each chamber is a five-judge court with a presiding judge and four members. One elected judge by the all judges of the Court of Cassation presides over the entire Court as general President. [18]

All final judgments are appealable, except those less than 400,000 Turkish Liras and, in penal cases, judgments concerning fines up to 2,000,000 Turkish Liras, judgments of acquittal from an offense involving fines not exceeding 10,000,000 Turkish Liras, and judgments which are described in the Criminal Code or other codes as final. [18]
A letter from the British Embassy in Ankara dated 22 April 2005 noted that the Yargitay only confirms or cancels court verdicts and does not conduct retrials. [4d]
xi. Intermediate Courts of Appeal
As recorded in the European Commission 2005 report: “The Law Establishing the Intermediate Courts of Appeal came into force on 1 June 2005. The establishment of the Courts of Appeal will substantially reduce the case load of the Court of Cassation and enable it to concentrate on its function of providing guidance to lower courts on points of law of general public importance. The Law provides that the Courts are to be established within two years of its entry into force.” [71b] (p16)
B. Administrative Courts
The administrative courts include the Council of State, subordinate courts at the regions, and the Supreme Military Administrative Court. [18]

i. The Council of State (Danıştay)

The highest court for controversies arising from governmental or public services and action, and for general administrative disputes, having judicial and administrative function, is the Council of State. It is the final court for cases under its own jurisdiction and a court of appeal for the decisions given by subordinate administrative courts. The Council of State has 10 judicial chambers. [18]

ii. Subordinate Administrative Courts (Idare ve Vergi Mahkemeleri)
According to the law, first tier of administrative courts in Turkey are established on regional bases. The courts founded at the regions are, administrative courts (idare Mahkemeleri) and tax courts (vergi mahkemeleri). There are 22 administrative courts and 33 tax courts in Turkey. [18]
iii. Supreme Military Administrative Court (Askeri Yüksek Idare Mahkemesi)
The jurisdiction of the Supreme Military Administrative Court covers cases arising from administrative acts and actions made by military authorities and also cases arising from administrative acts and actions made by civilian authorities but involving military personnel and relation to military services. The Supreme Military Administrative Court is divided into 2 chambers. [18]
C. Military Courts
i. Military Criminal courts (Askeri Ceza Mahkemesi)
The jurisdiction of these Courts covers all military offenses described in the Military Criminal Code, in the Code Military Criminal Procedure, and in some other laws. There are 37 such Courts in Turkey. [18]
ii. The Military Criminal Court of Cassation (Askeri Yargitay)
According to the law, this court functions as the court of appeal of all decisions and judgments given by Military courts. It is divided into 5 chambers. [18]
D. The Constitutional Court (Anayasa Mahkemesi)

The Constitutional Court is first established by the Constitution of 1961, following the example of certain post-world War II constitutions, a system of judicial control of the constitutionality of laws. This system was maintained with certain modifications by the Constitution of 1982. [18]

The Constitutional Court consists of 11 regular members and 4 substitute members. All judges of the constitutional Court hold office until they retire at the age of 65 like all other judges in Turkey. [18]
As recorded in the document ‘Political Structure of Turkey’ dated November 2005) available in the References section in the website of the Office of the Prime Minister, Diretorate General of Press and Information (website accessed on 19 January 2006) “The decisions of the Constitutional Court are final. These decisions cannot be amended in any manner and their application cannot be delayed.” [36g]
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Annex F: List of abbreviations

AI Amnesty International

CEDAW Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

CPJ Committee to Protect Journalists

EU European Union

EBRD European Bank for Reconstruction and Development

FCO Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UK)

FH Freedom House

GDP Gross Domestic Product

HIV/AIDS Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome

HRW Human Rights Watch

IAG Illegal Armed Group

ICG International Crisis Group

ICRC International Committee for Red Cross

IDP Internally Displaced Person

IFRC International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies

IMF International Monetary Fund

IOM International Organisation for Migration

MSF Médecins sans Frontières

NGO Non Governmental Organisation

OCHA Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

ODIHR Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights

ODPR Office for Displaced Persons and Refugees

OECD Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development

OHCHR Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

OSCE Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe

RSF Reporteurs sans Frontières

STD Sexually Transmitted Disease

STC Save the Children

TB Tuberculosis

TI Transparency International

UN United Nations

UNAIDS Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS

UNESCO United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

UNHCHR United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

UNHCR United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

UNICEF United Nations Children’s Fund

UNODC United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

USAID United States Agency for International Development

USSD United States State Department

WFP World Food Programme

WHO World Health Organization
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Annex G: References to source material

The Home Office is not responsible for the content of external websites.

Numbering of source documents is not always consecutive because some older sources have been removed in the course of updating this document. (If applicable)

[1] Europa Publications

a “Regional Surveys of the World: The Middle East and North Africa 2005

b Europa World online, Turkey

(Accessed on 8 and 31 October 2005; 14 February 2006; 11 July 2006; 28 May 2007)
[2] Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs

a “Official general report on Turkey” (January 2002)

(Accessed 16 February 2006)

b “Turkey/military service” (July 2001)

(Accessed 13 December 2006)

c Official general report on Turkey (p102-103) (January 2003)

d “Turkey/military service” (July 2002)(translated extract on forfeiture of citizenship)
[3] Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC)

Turkey: Progress on National IDP Policy Paves Way for Further Reforms – 26 July 2007 – via

(Accessed 13 August 2008)

[4] Foreign and Commonwealth Office

a Letter 2 July 2007(Amendments to the law on Village Guards)

b Letter 11 April 2002

c Correspondence dated 5 February 2007.

d Letter 22 April 2005

e Letter 22 July 2005

f Fax 11 October 2005

g Human Rights Annual Report 2007: published March 2008

(Accessed 14 August 2008)

h Human Rights Annual Report 2005: July 2005

(Accessed 5 November 2005)

i Letter 28 September 2005

j Letter 14 August 2008 (Unregistered Births)

k Letter 22 July 2008 (Child Registration in Turkey)

l Country Profile 3 April 2008

(Accessed 4 August 2008)
m Letter 11 April 2006

n Letter 27 March 2007 (Request for Hearing Impaired)

o Letter 8 January 2007 (Request for additional information)

p Letter 17 April 2007 (Request for additional information)

q Letter 27 March 2007 (Request for additional information)

r Letter 27 March 2007 (Request for additional information)

s Letter 23 June 2008 (Request for information on Honour Killing)
[5] U.S. Department of State

a Country Reports on Terrorism 2007 - released April 30, 2008

(Accessed 4 August 2008)

b Report on Human Rights Practices in Turkey 2005, (8 March 2006)

(Accessed 11 July 2006)

c Report on Human Rights Practices in Turkey 2004, (28 February 2005)

(Accessed 11 July 2006)

d Trafficking in Persons 2006 Report: 12 June 2007

(Accessed 26 August 2007)

e Report on International Religious Freedom 2007, (14 September 2007)

(Accessed 29 September 2007)

f Consular Information Sheet– current as of today, May 14 2007.

(Accessed 2 May 2007)

g Report on Human Rights Practices in Turkey 2007, (11 March 2008)

(Accessed 5 August 2008)

h Report on Human Rights Practices in Turkey 2006 – 6 March 2007

(Accessed May 2007)

i Trafficking in Persons 2007 Report: 4 June 2008

(Accessed 26 August 2008)
[6] Kurdish Human Rights Project (KHRP)

a 2004 Legal Review

b Reform and Regression: Freedom of the Media in Turkey October 2007 via

(Accessed 13 August 2008)
[7] Documentation, Information and Research Branch, Immigration and Refugee Board, Ottawa, Canada.

a Turkey: Forced marriage in Turkey; outcome when a woman refuses to marry the designated man; outcome when a woman elopes with another man; attitude of state and availability of state protection (July 2001 -September 2004)

(Accessed 10 September 2007)

b Turkey: Status of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and Turkish Hezbollah; situation and treatment of members, supporters and sympathizers of these parties (2006 - 2007)

(Accessed 25 September 2007)

c Turkey: Situation and treatment of members, supporters and sympathizers of the Democratic Society Party (DTP) (2006 - 2007)

(Accessed 25 September 2007)

d Turkey: Procedures that must be followed by, and documents that must be provided to Turkish airport and land border authorities to allow a Turkish citizen and/or foreign national entry into and exit out of Turkey (July 2003)

(Accessed 4 October 2005)

e Turkey: Whether the People's Democracy Party (HADEP) and the Democratic People's Party (DEHAP) issue membership certificates to members residing within Turkey and/or abroad. (TUR43475.E 28 April 2005)

(Accessed 29 May 2007)

f Country Fact Sheet TURKEY, August 2007 (armed groups and other non state actors)

(Accessed 18 August 2008)

g Turkey: Conditions in military prisons (2003)

(Accessed 30 October 2007)

h Treatment of prisoners and conditions in military prisons (2005 – 2007)

(Accessed 13 August 2008)

i Situation and treatment of members, supporters and sympathizers of the Democratic Society Party (DTP) (2006 - 2007)

(Accessed 13 August 2008)

j Treatment of gay, lesbian and transgender people by Turkish society; treatment by authorities; legislation, protection and services available, 11 June 2008

(Accessed 18 August 2008)
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k Treatment of homosexuals in the military; process to establish that a man is gay; consequence of refusing to undergo this process (2005 - 2007) 5 April 2007

(Accessed 18 August 2008)

l Turkey: Whether a Turkish citizen who is the subject of an arrest warrant can obtain a passport legitimately or through bribery or any other fraudulent means. October 2004

(Accessed 26 August 2008)

[8] The Swiss Organisation for Refugees

‘Turkey – The current situation’ p40-42, June 2003

[9] Human Rights Watch

a Turkey: Displaced Villagers Denied Fair Compensation,

(Accessed 26 January 2007)

b World Report 2008 Turkey events of 2007, 31 January 2008

(Accessed 5 August 2008)

c Turkey: End Harassment of Gay Rights Groups, 16 April 2008

(Accessed 18 August 2008)

d Turkey: “We Need a Law for Liberation”, May 2008

(Accessed 22 August 2008)

e World Report 2007 Turkey, 11 January 2007

(Accessed 18 January 2007)

f Human Rights Concerns in the Lead up to July Parliamentary Elections, 19 July 2007

(Accessed 13 August 2008)

[10] International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights

a Human Rights in the OSCE Region: Europe, Central Asia and North America, Report 2006 (Events of 2005): Turkey, 8 June 2006

(Accessed 13 December 2006)

b Roma in the OSCE Region in 2006, March 2007

(Accessed 29 October 2007)

c Human Rights in the OSCE Region: Europe, Central Asia and North America, Report 2007 (Events of 2006) Turkey, 27 March 2007

(Accessed 4 June 2007)
[11] Reporters sans frontières

a Worldwide Press Freedom Index 2007:

(Accessed 23 October 2007)

b Turkey – Freedom of the Press Annual report 2007

(Accessed 21 February 2007)

c Annual Report 2008 published 14 February 2008

(Accessed 14 August 2008)

d Freedom of expression still in danger in Turkey despite article 301 reform 5 May 2008 via

(Accessed 13 August 2008)
[12] Amnesty International

a Turkey: No justice for victims of torture and killings by law enforcement officials, 5 July 2007

(Accessd 7 August 2008)

b Stop Violence Against Women “Turkey: Shelters Not Cemeteries”

(Accessed 26 September 2006)

c Amnesty International Annual Report 2007- covering evenys from January to December 2006

(Accessed 8 August 2008)

d Turkey: Conscientious objector at risk of imprisonment - 3 October 2007

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