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Researching Turkish Law in English: Getting Started



In general, locating and then interpreting sources of Turkish law can be challenging, particularly for English-speaking researchers.  Keep in mind that, when approaching a question related to Turkish law (or foreign law generally), it is often advantageous to start with a secondary source.  There are several online guides in English that can serve as introductions to understanding and researching Turkish law. These resources are listed at right.  When researching Turkish law, keep in mind that Turkey geographically straddles two continents--Asia and Europe--so information about Turkey may often be found in both Asian and European sources.  Turkey also borders three Middle Eastern countries (Syria, Iran, and Iraq) and is traditionally considered part of the Middle East region.

Turkey and the EU

Turkey is currently a candidate country for full membership in the European Union.  There is a variety of material available on Turkey's membership bid, including many documents posted on the EU Commission's website.  See also the reports on Turkey's legal system authored by various independent specialists.  See, for example, Kjell Björnberg and Ross Cranston, "The Functioning of the Judiciary in the Republic of Turkey," which is a report compiled after a third advisory visit, which took place from June 13 to June 22, 2005.


Introductions to Turkish Law and Researching Turkish Law

There are several electronic publications that provide introductions to Turkish law and Turkish legal research.  Note that a number of U.S. law libraries offer webliographies for Turkey.  Try Googling "legal research" and "Turkey" to locate these pages.  See also the "Databases" tab for information on several commercial databases that provide introductions and descriptions of Turkish law and legal resources.

Online Translators

English translations of Turkish legal materials are often difficult to locate and can be unreliable.  If authoritative English versions are not available, look for "official" translations that are created by, or for, a government organization. 

Many online translators are available on the WWW, but these should be used with caution since web translators do not generally include specialized legal or commercial vocabulary.  Online translators, however, may be of some help in getting the general sense of a document or passage. Google Translate will translate from Turkish to English. Also useful for Turkish-English translations are:



Turkish Presidential Decrees

The Law Library of Congress has published a report on Turkish Presidential Decrees. The report, published in January 2022, provides an overview of the Turkish president’s power to issue presidential decrees under the Turkish Constitution. 

Turkey and the Council of Europe

Turkey is a charter member of the Council of Europe, which is headquartered in Strasbourg. See the Council's European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice evaluation of Turkey (2016–2018).