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Turkey[1] [print]

Last edited: November 2005

 

Summary and Analysis

 

Turkey signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child on September 29, 1990, and ratified it on September 9, 1994. Turkey also ratified the European Convention on the Exercise of Children's Rights on October 1, 2002 and applied it to five categories of family cases before a judicial authority, including parental rights of access to the child and custody.[2]


In accordance with the Turkish Constitution, international agreements to which Turkey is a party are approved by the Turkish Grand National Assembly by enactment of a law, and then automatically have force of law in Turkey;[3] the Convention could therefore be invoked before the courts.

 

The new Civil Code, which has been in effect since January 1, 2002 is an attempt to bring Turkish family law in harmony with the basic rights and rules of international agreements. The provisions regarding children have been modified to protect the best interest of the child.[4] As a consequence, the extent of the traditional parental authority is reduced to the concept of parental duties rather than authorities.[5] The duties of parents include representing their children and raising them. They are responsible for the care, protection, and education of their children.[6]

 

The Social Services and Child Protection Agency is the coordinating agency for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Turkey.[7] Recently, the new Juvenile Protection Law established new protective proceedings and measures to be taken when children are in need of protection. A child (defined as “juvenile” in the law) can apply to the Social Services when he/she wishes to be taken under protection by the agency. The law gives recognition to the right of the juvenile to participate in the proceedings and to be informed in regard to them. The decisions made according to the provisions of the law must take into consideration the opinion of a child with adequate capacity. The question of capacity is not defined by age but rather is a factual question to be decided by the judge.

 

In addition to the Social Services Agency, other bodies, such as the Subcommittee for Monitoring and Evaluation of the Rights of the Child, were established to enhance the effectiveness of the Social Services.

 

Sources of Law (In Order of Authority)

 

Statutes

 

Original text

 

International Law

 

ÇOCUK HAKLARINA DAİR SÖZLEŞME[8]

Madde 12

1. Taraf Devletler, görüşlerini oluşturma yeteneğine sahip çocuğun kendini ilgilendiren her konuda görüşlerini serbestçe ifade etme hakkını bu görüşlere çocuğun yaşı ve olgunluk derecesine uygun olarak, gereken özen gösterilmek suretiyle tanırlar.

2. Bu amaçla, çocuğu etkileyen herhangi bir adli veya idari kovuşturmada çocuğun ya doğrudan doğruya veya bir temsilci ya da uygun bir makam yoluyla dinlenilmesi fırsatı, ulusal yasanın usule ilişkin kurallarına uygun olarak çocuğa, özellikle sağlanacaktır.

 

Regional Agreements

 

European Convention on the Exercise of Children's Rights[9]

 

Statutes

 

ÇOCUK KORUMA KANUNU[10]

 

Madde 3. Tanımlar

 

(1) Bu Kanunun uygulanmasında;

a) Çocuk: Daha erken yaşta ergin olsa bile, onsekiz yaşını doldurmamış kişiyi; bu kapsamda,

1. Korunma ihtiyacı olan çocuk: Bedensel, zihinsel, ahlaki, sosyal ve duygusal gelişimi ile kişisel güvenliği tehlikede olan, ihmal veya istismar edilen ya da suç mağduru çocuğu,

2. Suça sürüklenen çocuk: Kanunlarda suç olarak tanımlanan bir fiili işlediği iddiası ile hakkında soruşturma veya kovuşturma yapılan ya da işlediği fiilden dolayı hakkında güvenlik tedbirine karar verilen çocuğu,

b) Mahkeme: Çocuk mahkemeleri ile çocuk ağır ceza mahkemelerini,

c) Çocuk hâkimi: Hakkında kovuşturma başlatılmış olanlar hariç, suça sürüklenen çocuklarla korunma ihtiyacı olan çocuklar hakkında uygulanacak tedbir kararlarını veren çocuk mahkemesi hâkimini,

d) Kurum: Bu Kanun kapsamındaki çocuğun bakılıp gözetildiği, hakkında verilen tedbir kararlarının yerine getirildiği resmî veya özel kurumları,

e) Sosyal çalışma görevlisi: Psikolojik danışmanlık ve rehberlik, psikoloji, sosyal hizmet alanlarında eğitim veren kurumlardan mezun meslek mensuplarını, İfade eder.

 

Madde 4. Temel ilkeler

 

(1) Bu Kanunun uygulanmasında, çocuğun haklarının korunması amacıyla;

a) Çocuğun yaşama, gelişme, korunma ve katılım haklarının güvence altına alınması,

b) Çocuğun yarar ve esenliğinin gözetilmesi,

c) Çocuk ve ailesinin herhangi bir nedenle ayrımcılığa tâbi tutulmaması,

d) Çocuk ve ailesi bilgilendirilmek suretiyle karar sürecine katılımlarının sağlanması,

e) Çocuğun, ailesinin, ilgililerin, kamu kurumlarının ve sivil toplum kuruluşlarının işbirliği içinde çalışmaları,

f) İnsan haklarına dayalı, adil, etkili ve süratli bir usûl izlenmesi,

g) Soruşturma ve kovuşturma sürecinde çocuğun durumuna uygun özel ihtimam gösterilmesi,

h) Kararların alınmasında ve uygulanmasında, çocuğun yaşına ve gelişimine uygun eğitimini ve öğrenimini, kişiliğini ve toplumsal sorumluluğunu geliştirmesinin desteklenmesi,

i) Çocuklar hakkında özgürlüğü kısıtlayıcı tedbirler ile hapis cezasına en son çare olarak başvurulması,

j) Tedbir kararı verilirken kurumda bakım ve kurumda tutmanın son çare olarak görülmesi, kararların verilmesinde ve uygulanmasında toplumsal sorumluluğun paylaşılmasının sağlanması,

k) Çocukların bakılıp gözetildiği, tedbir kararlarının uygulandığı kurumlarda yetişkinlerden ayrı tutulmaları,

l) Çocuklar hakkında yürütülen işlemlerde, yargılama ve kararların yerine getirilmesinde kimliğinin başkaları tarafından belirlenememesine yönelik önlemler alınması,

İlkeleri gözetilir.

 

Madde 6. Kuruma başvuru

 

(1) Adlî ve idarî merciler, kolluk görevlileri, sağlık ve eğitim kuruluşları, sivil toplum kuruluşları, korunma ihtiyacı olan çocuğu Sosyal Hizmetler ve Çocuk Esirgeme Kurumuna bildirmekle yükümlüdür. Çocuk ile çocuğun bakımından sorumlu kimseler çocuğun korunma altına alınması amacıyla Sosyal Hizmetler ve Çocuk Esirgeme Kurumuna başvurabilir.

(2) Sosyal Hizmetler ve Çocuk Esirgeme Kurumu kendisine bildirilen olaylarla ilgili olarak gerekli araştırmayı derhâl yapar.

 

Madde 7. Koruyucu ve destekleyici tedbir kararı alınması

 

(1) Çocuklar hakkında koruyucu ve destekleyici tedbir kararı; çocuğun anası, babası, vasisi, bakım ve gözetiminden sorumlu kimse, Sosyal Hizmetler ve Çocuk Esirgeme Kurumu ve Cumhuriyet savcısının istemi üzerine veya re'sen çocuk hâkimi tarafından alınabilir.

(2) Tedbir kararı verilmeden önce çocuk hakkında sosyal inceleme yaptırılabilir.

(3) Tedbirin türü kararda gösterilir. Bir veya birden fazla tedbire karar verilebilir.

(4) Hâkim, hakkında koruyucu ve destekleyici tedbire karar verdiği çocuğun denetim altına alınmasına da karar verebilir.

(5) Hâkim, çocuğun gelişimini göz önünde bulundurarak koruyucu ve destekleyici tedbirin kaldırılmasına veya değiştirilmesine karar verebilir:Bu karar acele hâllerde, çocuğun bulunduğu yer hâkimi tarafından da verilebilir:Ancak bu durumda karar, önceki kararı alan hâkim veya mahkemeye bildirilir.

(6) Tedbirin uygulanması, onsekiz yaşın doldurulmasıyla kendiliğinden sona erer. Ancak hâkim, eğitim ve öğrenimine devam edebilmesi için ve rızası alınmak suretiyle tedbirin uygulanmasına belli bir süre daha devam edilmesine karar verebilir.

(7) Mahkeme, korunma ihtiyacı olan çocuk hakkında, koruyucu ve destekleyici tedbir kararının yanında 22.11.2001 tarihli ve 4721 sayılı Türk Medenî Kanunu hükümlerine göre velayet, vesayet, kayyım, nafaka ve kişisel ilişki kurulması hususlarında da karar vermeye yetkilidir.

 

Madde 13. Tedbir kararlarında usûl


(1) Bu Kanunun 7 nci Maddesinin yedinci fıkrasında öngörülen durumlar hariç olmak üzere, suça sürüklenen ve ceza sorumluluğu olmayan çocuklarla korunma ihtiyacı olan çocuklar hakkında duruşma yapılmaksızın tedbir kararı verilir. Ancak, hâkim zaruret gördüğü hâllerde duruşma yapabilir.

(2) Tedbir kararının verilmesinden önce yeterli idrak gücüne sahip olan çocuğun görüşü alınır, ilgililer dinlenebilir, çocuk hakkında sosyal inceleme raporu düzenlenmesi istenebilir.

 

Kanunlar Türk Medenî Kanunu (Civil code)[11]

 

 

 

 

 

Translation

 

International Law

 

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child[12]

 

Article 12

 

1. States Parties shall assure to the child who is capable of forming his or her own views the right to express those views freely in all matters affecting the child, the views of the child being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child.

 

2. For this purpose, the child shall in particular be provided the opportunity to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body, in a manner consistent with the procedural rules of national law.

 

European Convention on the Exercise of Children's Rights[13]

 

Article 3 – Right to be informed and to express his or her views in proceedings

 

A child considered by internal law as having sufficient understanding, in the case of proceedings before a judicial authority affecting him or her, shall be granted, and shall be entitled to request, the following rights:

a. to receive all relevant information;

b. to be consulted and express his or her views;

c. to be informed of the possible consequences of compliance with these views and the possible consequences of any decision.

 

Article 4 – Right to apply for the appointment of a special representative

 

1. Subject to Article 9, the child shall have the right to apply, in person or through other persons or bodies, for a special representative in proceedings before a judicial authority affecting the child where internal law precludes the holders of parental responsibilities from representing the child as a result of a conflict of interest with the latter.

 

2. States are free to limit the right in paragraph 1 to children who are considered by internal law to have sufficient understanding.

 

Article 6 – Decision-making process

 

In proceedings affecting a child, the judicial authority, before taking a decision, shall:

a. consider whether it has sufficient information at its disposal in order to take a decision in the best interests of the child and, where necessary, it shall obtain further information, in particular from the holders of parental responsibilities;

b. in a case where the child is considered by internal law as having sufficient understanding:

          –         ensure that the child has received all relevant information;

          –         consult the child in person in appropriate cases, if necessary privately, itself or through other persons or bodies, in a manner appropriate to his or her understanding, unless this would be manifestly contrary to the best interests of the child;

          –         allow the child to express his or her views;

c. give due weight to the views expressed by the child.

 

Article 10

 

1. In the case of proceedings before a judicial authority affecting a child the representative shall, unless this would be manifestly contrary to the best interests of the child:

a. provide all relevant information to the child, if the child is considered by internal law as having sufficient understanding;

b. provide explanations to the child if the child is considered by internal law as having sufficient understanding, concerning the possible consequences of compliance with his or her views and the possible consequences of any action by the representative;

c. determine the views of the child and present these views to the judicial authority.

 

2.  Parties shall consider extending the provisions of paragraph 1 to the holders of parental responsibilities.

 

Statutes

 

Juvenile Protection Law[14]

 

Article 3. Definitions

 

(1) For the purposes of this Law, the terms used herein shall have the following meanings:

a) Juvenile: Any individual that has not yet completed age eighteen, regardless of whether they have reached full legal age earlier. Within this scope:

             1. Juvenile in need of protection: Any juvenile whose physical, mental, moral, social or emotional development and personal safety is in danger, who are neglected or abused, or who are victims of crime,

             2. Juvenile pushed to crime: Any juvenile about whom an investigation or prosecution is carried out on the allegation that he/she has committed an act which is defined as a crime in the Laws, or any juvenile about whom a security measure has been decided due to an act he/she has committed,

b) Court: Juvenile courts and juvenile heavy penal courts,

c) Juvenile judge: The judge of the juvenile court which renders the decisions for the measures that will be taken with regard to juveniles pushed to crime and juveniles that are in need of protection, except for those about whom prosecution procedures have been started,

d) Institution: Public or private institutions where juveniles covered under the scope of this Law are looked after and supervised, and where the measures decreed about such juveniles are fulfilled,

e) Social worker: members of the profession graduated from institutions that provide education in the fields of psychological consulting and guidance, psychology, and social services

 

Article 4.   Fundamental Principles

 

(1) For the purposes of this Law, in order to protect the rights of juveniles, the following fundamental principles shall be observed:

a) Safeguarding juveniles' right to life, development, protection and participation,

b) Safeguarding the interest and well-being of juveniles,

…

d) Ensuring the participation of the juvenile and his/her family in the process via keeping them informed,

…

 

Article 6. Applying to the Agency

 

(1) Judicial and administrative authorities, law enforcement officers, health and education institutions and non-governmental organizations have the obligation to notify the Social Services and Child Protection Agency of any juveniles that are in need of protection. The juvenile and the persons who are responsible for the care of the juvenile can apply to the Social Services and Child Protection Agency to take the juvenile under protection.

(2) The Social Services and Child Protection Agency shall immediately carry out the necessary enquiry regarding the events notified to it.

 

Article 7. Taking Protective and Supportive Court Decisions

 

(1) Protective and supportive court decisions regarding juveniles can be taken by the juvenile judge either suo sponte or upon the request of the juvenile's father, mother, guardian, the person responsible for the care and supervision of the juvenile, the Social Services and Child Protection Agency or the Public prosecutor.

(2) Before rendering a court decision, a social enquiry regarding the juvenile shall be carried out.

(3) The type of the measure shall be indicated in the decision. The judge may decide for one or more measures.

(4) The judge may also decide for taking under supervision the juvenile about whom he/she has decided for a protective and supportive measure.

(5) Taking into consideration the development of the juvenile, the Judge may decide to change or abrogate the protective and supportive measure. In case of emergencies, this decision may also be rendered by the local judge where the juvenile is located. However, in such a case, the decision shall be notified to the judge or court that had rendered the original decision.

(6) The execution of the measure shall terminate automatically when the juvenile completes age eighteen. However, the judge may decide to continue with the implementation of the measure for a certain period of time in order to allow the juvenile to continue his/her training or education, provided that the consent of the juvenile is taken.

(7) Aside from rendering decisions for protective and supportive measures regarding juveniles that are in need of protection, the court shall also have the authority to decide with regard to custody, guardianship, warship, caretaker, trustee, alimony and personal contact, in accordance with the provisions of the Turkish Civil Code dated 22.11.2001 and numbered 4721.

 

Article 13. Procedures for Court Decisions

 

(1) Except for the cases provided for in paragraph seven of Article 7 of this Law, a decision for measures shall be rendered without any hearings for juveniles pushed to crime and who do not have penal liability and juveniles that are in need of protection. However, the judge may hold a hearing if considered necessary.

 

(2) Before rendering a decision for measure, the opinion of the juvenile having adequate perception capacity shall be taken, the relevant persons may be heard, and preparation of a social enquiry report regarding the juvenile may be demanded.

 

Civil Code[15]

 

Article 339

 

The parents (The mother and father) decide on the care and the education of the child regarding the advantage of the child and apply their decisions.

The child has to obey the decisions of his parents.

 

Article 342

 

The parents of the child are the legal representatives of their child within the limits of their guardianship towards a third party/person.

Protection of the child:

 

Article 346

 

If the advantages and development of the child is endangered and if the parents are unable to resolve the problematic situation or they are incapable of it, the judge takes necessary precautions to protect the child.

 

Article 347

 

If the physical or intellectual development of the child is endangered or if the child is abandoned spiritually, the judge can take the child away from his family and place him to an institution or give him to another family.

The same decision can be taken by the judge, upon the demand of the parents or the child, if the presence of the child within the family disturbs the peace of the family in an unbearable way and if there is no other solution.

 

Article 348

 

As a last measure the parental authority may also be taken away by court decision from both of the parents or from only one of them, in case of incapability to perform the parental duties or if the parents are interdicted or if they abuse their authority severely, and a guardian is appointed by the court to replace the parents.

 

Article 426. Conditions calling for trusteeship

 

The office of guardianship assigns a representative trustee upon the demand of the related person or under conditions described by law or under the following conditions:

 …

2) If the advantage of the child and the advantage of the legal representative are contradictive.

…

 

Article 427.  Curatorship

 

In cases where the interests of the guardian or parent and the minor are in conflict, when an impediment prevents the guardian from doing his duties, or in some specific and temporary instances, the judge appoints a curator to represent the minor.

 

Local Contact Information

 

Adem Arkadas

Child Rights Programme Officer

International Children's Center

Bilkent University, Main Library Building

06800, Ankara, TURKEY

Email: arkadas@icc.org.tr

Website: www.icc.org.tr

Tel: +90 312 290 2714

Fax: +90 312 266 6929 / +90 312 266 4678

 

Additional Resources and Links

 

http://www.die.gov.tr/CIN/index.html - The child information network

www.turkishembassy.org/links - Turkey's embassy to the U.S.

www.tbmm.gov.tr – The Grand National Assembly

http://www.shcek.gov.tr/ - The Social Services and Child Protection Agency, in Turkish only

http://www.byegm.gov.tr/on-sayfa/new-civil-code.htm - explanation on the amendments to the Turkish civil law

http://www.basbakanlik.gov.tr/sour.ce/index.asp?wss=basbakanlik.gov.tr&wpg=ana - Office of the Prime Minister

 


Endnotes

[1] This page is also available as a .pdf Document, and Word Document.

[2] The European Convention on the Exercise of Children's Rights. According to the declaration by Turkey, the Convention will apply to five categories of family cases before a judicial authority, namely: 1. Cases relating to divorce; 2. Cases relating to separation; 3. Cases concerning the custody of children; 4. Cases concerning parental rights of access to the child; 5. Cases relating to establishment of paternal affiliation by means of judicial decision, available at http://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/Commun/ListeDeclarations.asp?NT=160&CM=1&DF=18/11/2005&CL=ENG&VL=1.

[3] The Constitution of the Republic of Turkey, available at http://www.tbmm.gov.tr/english/constitution.htm

[4] Ansay T. and Wallace D., Jr. (eds.), Introduction to Turkish Law, Fifth edition, 2005, p.120.

[5] Id.

[6] The Civil Code, Article 339.

[7] The Social Services and Child Protection Agency Law established the agency in 1983 by Act No. 2828.

[8] The Convention on the Rights of the Child, available at http://www.die.gov.tr/CIN/CIN-tr/CRC-tr.html. The convention became a national legal instrument after having been ratified by Law No. 4058 published in the Official Journal No. 22184 of 27 January 1995.

[9] European Convention on the Rights of the Child, Jan. 25, 1996, C.E.T.S.160, original text unavailable.

[10] The Juvenile Protection Law, Law No: 5395 (03.07.2005), available at http://www.shcek.gov.tr/portal/dosyalar/coc_hak/coc_kor_kanunu.asp.

[11] Civil Code, available at http://rega.basbakanlik.gov.tr/, and also here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[12] The Convention on the Rights of the Child, G.A. Res. 44/125, U.N. GAOR, 44th Session, Supp. No. 49, U.N. Doc. A/44/736 (1989), available at http://www.ohchr.org/english/law/crc.htm.

[13] European Convention, supra note 8, available at http://conventions.coe.int/Treaty/en/Treaties/Word/160.doc.

[14] Unofficial translation by the International Children's Center, available at here, and also as .pdf Document, and also as Word Document.

[15] A new civil code was promulgated on November 27, 2001. Unofficial translation by a translator provided by the Jerome N. Frank Legal Services Organization. Commentary can be found in Introduction to Turkish law, supra note 4.

 

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