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Time To Talk Debate Series 2: Perception of the Judiciary, Rule of Law and Social Insecurities


Date: 24 June 2014, Tuesday
Time: 18:30

On Tuesday June 24th, at 18:30, Depo will hold its second debate in the series: “Perception of the Judiciary, Rule of Law and Social Insecurities”. The discussion will take place as part of the TTT topic of “The Crisis of Trust in Europe: How to Build New Bonds of Mutual Confidence”.
In Europe loss of trust is diagnosed as a negative fact which threatens the social fabric where democratic institutions were built upon. However in Turkey trust could not exist as a founding and established component in social relationships. According to worldwide social values surveys, Turkey is one of those countries where interpersonal trust statistics score the lowest. On the other hand in surveys for evaluating the confidence towards social institutions, the ones which are most distanced to democratic participation – such as the army – come out with highest confidence percentages.

Taking up from the first debate where relationship of security politics to social insecurities was discussed the second discussion will focus on the people’s perception of the judiciary, instrumentalization of jurisdiction and problems with predictability and certainty of law. Discussion outlines summarized by the speakers are as follows:

Suavi Aydın: People of Turkey has a negative perception with regards to the judicial system. It is not easy to differentiate the opinions about the legal system from the perceptions of state. The citizen sees the legal system through the mirror of her relationship with the state mechanisms and identifies the jurisdiction with the state. The authoritarian characteristic of the state shapes the view of the judiciary and this view is jammed together with the individual’s judicial practices. Moreover, the citizen is aware that in Turkey the jurisdiction is a power which is instrumentalized by the actual governing body rather than providing a base to search for law and justice. Recent events helped to make this perception even more evident. Influence of the support or criticism by the government on the judicial processes in the ongoing political cases and its ability to exploit all the ways and means to interfere with the jurisdiction became all very clear. Consequently recent developments provided crucial data which supports the field research we have carried out back in 2009, from the perspective of citizen perceptions.

Berke Özenç: It is possible to state that many of the current problems and discussions in Turkey are closely linked with the notion of rule of law: blurring of the state’s limits defined by the law hence a growing pressure on certain freedoms and politicization of the judiciary which is supposed to be an independent agency of justice with the means to settle such conflicts. On one hand the political power tries to justify its various interventions – such as regulations concerning MIT (National Intelligence Organization), increased criminal and police measures or bans on social media – with arguments on security, on the other, all of this process counteracts against the sense of confidence promised by the certainty and predictability of law which should be secured by the legal system. In this talk, I will problematize the modernist promise about building the sense of security through jurisdiction and open up the discussion on whether this promise aims at the protection of state’s or individual’s security. Rising authoritarianism and instrumentalization of jurisdiction will be discussed from the perspectives of rule of law and confidence in certainty and predictability of law.


Suavi Aydın – Born in 1962 in Ankara. Studied Sociology at Hacettepe University, had his MA degree on sociology and completed his PhD on social/cultural anthropology at the same university. Some of his published research include; Modernization and Nationalism (Ankara, 1993), Identity Problem, Nation and “Turkish Identity” (Ankara, 1998); History of Mardin. Religious Community-Tribe-State (Istanbul, 2000, together with Oktay Özel, Kudret Emiroğlu and Süha Ünsal); Dictionary of Anthropology (2003, together with Kudret Emiroğlu); Thousand Faces of Asia Minor: Ankara (Ankara, 2005, together with Kudret Emiroğlu, Ömer Türkoğlu and Ergi Deniz Özsoy); “Our Aim is State’s Permanence”: State and Citizens in the Democratization Process (Istanbul, 2005); “Just at Times, Unjust in Others”: People’s Perception of the Judiciary in the Democratization Process (Istanbul, 2009, together with Mithat Sancar) and History of Turkey from 1960’s to Date (Istanbul, 2014, together with Yüksel Taşkın). He also published in various academic journals and anthologies on a diverse range of topics such as identity problem, historiography, issue of state, history of thought, nationalism, ethnic groups and tribes and histories of settlement. He is currently a professor at Hacettepe University, Faculty of Communication.

Berke Özenç – Born in Istanbul in 1981. He studied law at Istanbul University and in 2004 started to work as an assistant in Public Law Department of the same university and completed his MA and PhD degrees in the field of public law. Since 2013 he works at Türkisch-Deutsche Universität (TDU) in Istanbul. He published two books; European Human Rights Act and Freedom of Belief (2006) and Rule of Law (2014) and various articles in periodicals and academic journals. His current research topics include the right to protest and public law in Weimar Era Germany.


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