German law has directly or indirectly affected Turkish law since the foundation of the Republic of Turkey. The adoption of the Swiss Civil Law, which was under the strong influence of German law, the adoption of a substantial part of the German Criminal Procedure Law as the Turkish Criminal Procedure Law, and the Turkish Commercial Code prepared by Ernest Hirsch, German law professor, under the great influence of German Law, illustrate some of the remarkable influences on Turkish Law. German law professors, who immigrated to Turkey before the World War II, educated a substantial number of faculty members at Ankara University Faculty of Law and Istanbul University Faculty of Law. Turkish jurists who later completed their doctoral studies in Germany, now, constitute the current generation of law professors. In the field of Constitutional Law, the Turkish Constitution of 1961 and 1982, including the Constitutional Court and fundamental rights are inspired by the German Constitutional Law. The influence of German Constitutional Law is still visible in the current drafts of constitution in areas such as human dignity (German Constitution art. 1).
The direct influence of German Law on Turkish Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure Law, Law Procedures and Commercial Code newly issued, is evident. For instance, German legislations served as a model for the new Turkish Criminal Code, which was enacted by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey in 2004 and entered into force in 2005. In addition to this, the Turkish Criminal Procedure Code, the Code of Execution of Penalties and Security Measures, the Code of The Foundation of Regional Courts of Justice and Courts of First Instance, as well as the new Turkish Code of Obligations, which was enacted by the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, and came into force in 2012, and the new Turkish Commercial Code are other examples.
The indirect effects of German Law can also be observed in the European Law including the European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Its dogmatic robustness makes German Law effective not only in German speaking countries such as Austria and Switzerland, but also in other countries such as Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Greece, Portugal, and South America. The Russian Federation, the new members of the EU, as well as, countries such as China and Vietnam take Germany as a model for new legal regulations. This is especially important for international students who come to Turkey from former USSR countries, to pursue their academic studies, since these countries have re-drafted their fundamental laws based on German legislations over the last decade.
For all the reasons above, today German law is of great essence for Turkish law, and therefore it is highly essential to have a good command of German law and closely follow its execution as well as relevant developments, issues, current debates pertaining to German Law. Furthermore it should be noted that, not only German legislations, but also judicial decisions (jurisprudence) of German courts and academic studies on German law also have direct influences on the judicial practice and academic research conducted in our country.
On the other hand, Turkish Law still lacks many of the institutions and practices that exist in German Law. Özyeğin University Research and Application Center for German Law aims to introduce such institutions and practices to Turkish law professors and legal professionals as part of its mission.
By the same token, in cases of crimes committed abroad, as per Article 19 of Turkish Criminal Law, it is required to compare the applicable legislations of Turkey with those of the country where the crime is committed and to provide a ruling for the defendant based on the laws of the country where the crime is committed, excluding exceptional cases. Due to this provision, there is a serious demand for judicial collaboration for information regarding the legislation and judicial practice applicable for crimes committed in foreign countries, especially in Germany. Özyeğin University Research and Application Center will make valuable contributions to the Turkish judicial system by providing expert opinion to courts and submitting the necessary legal and scientific information in an efficient and effective way.
The Research Center will serve as a bridge between Turkey and Germany, as well as, old USSR countries and other neighbor countries that adopted German legislations through facilitating faculty exchanges, organizing regulatory conferences, producing scholarly publications and providing translations.
The Center will also provide expert opinion on legal issues that may arise between German corporations headquartered or represented in Turkey and real/legal persons residing in Turkey. Furthermore the center aims to act as a reliable consultant for legislative drafting procedures and educational initiatives of the Higher Education Council and the Ministry of Justice, as well as faculty and student exchanges between Turkish and German universities.
Turkish and German faculty members to be recruited by the Center will add genuine value to education through their specific fields of expertise; play an active role in graduate education, when/if the center has sufficient staff, and make valuable contributions to academic life of our country through its academic activities and scholarly publications.
The Center will also play a pivotal role in promoting the comparative study of law, which is currently missing but highly needed in our country.
The Center will lend significant support to lawmakers and scholars by facilitating academic research through the grants awarded by the European Union, the Federal Ministry of Justice of Germany and other public and private institutions in Germany. The center will provide a fertile ground for Turkish and German scholars to develop joint scholarly solutions to societal problems in coordination with the relevant legislative and executive authorities.
The Center will promote and encourage faculty and student mobility in cooperation with Erasmus-Socrates and similar other institutions; and serve as a bridge between Turkey and Europe as well as other countries.
The Center will use its financial resources to ensure that foreign legislations, important scientific publications, as well as, relevant jurisprudence and research projects are translated and published in Turkish; and the scientific and scholarly work and opinions of Turkish scholars are transferred to and shared with European countries.