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Cablegate: Turkey's First Female Judge On the European Court

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PP RUEHAG RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN
RUEHLZ RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHIT #0040 0250731
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 250731Z JAN 08
FM AMCONSUL ISTANBUL
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 7811
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ISTANBUL 000040

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PREL TU
SUBJECT: TURKEY'S FIRST FEMALE JUDGE ON THE EUROPEAN COURT
OF HUMAN RIGHTS: PROFESSOR ISIL KARAKAS


1. (U) The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly appointed
Professor Isil Karakas as the new Turkish judge on the
European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on January 22. With
this appointment, Karakas became the first, female Turkish
jurist to be given a European appointment. According to the
European Convention on Human Rights, each contracting country
proposes three names to the Assembly, and the Assembly
appoints one of the three. Prof. Karakas received 136 of 178
total votes in the Assembly, winning by a large margin ahead
of the other two Turkish candidates. The appointment for
Turkey's slot was due in October, but two of the three names
proposed by the government were not deemed qualified enough.
The Assembly's Justice Commission had said the Turkish
government was trying to impose a specific name by adding two
lower-profile names to the list. Prof. Karakas was not one
of the names on the first list. She will be on the Court for
six years.

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Biographic Data
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2. (U) Professor Isil Karakas graduated from Istanbul's
Galatasaray High School in 1978 and earned an undergraduate
degree in Political Science from Istanbul University in 1983.
After a year at Bogazici University's School of Foreign
Languages, she returned to Istanbul University where she
completed an M.A. in Public Law. In 1990, Karakas received
her second license degree from Marmara University's Law
School. She finished her dissertation on Public Law and
earned her Ph.D. in 1992, again from Marmara University.

3. (U) Karakas taught at Istanbul University's Political
Science Department beginning in 1983 as an associate
professor, and later as an assistant professor in 1999. That
same year she transferred to Galatasaray University and
became a full professor in 2003. The following year, she
became the Deputy Dean of the Law School of Galatasaray
University. Her areas of special interest are European Union
law, and international human rights law. Along with her
academic career, she held different positions at various
research centers, including the Human Rights Law Research
Center of Istanbul University, and the European Studies and
Documentation Center of Galatasaray University. She
published two books: European Constitution (2005), and
Diversite Culturelle en Turquie et en Europe (Cultural
Diversity in Turkey and in Europe, 2004). She also has many
published articles on European law, human rights law,
fundamental rights and freedoms, and on government
responsibilities within the context of the implementation of
the European Court of Human Rights decisions.

3. (U) Prof. Karakas is known as a liberal academic who
opposed some controversial court decisions in the past. She
was critical of the Constitutional Court decision to close
down former Prime Minister Erbakan's Refah (Welfare) Party,
as well as the ECHR decision that approved it. She is also
known to oppose Turkey's headscarf ban at universities, which
the ECHR ruled was legal in 2005.

4. (U) Professor Karakas is married to Eser Karakas, a
fellow professor who is well-known in Turkey for his liberal,
pro-EU views.
WIENER

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