Centre of Expertise on Turkey
Modern Turkish law has absored many influences from the European arena and is a foreign legal system having great practical relevance in Germany and the EU. This fact is not surprising in light of the historical links between Turkey – and the former Ottoman Empire – and EU Member States, especially in economic terms. Moreover, with global law becoming increasingly pluralistic, Turkish law is of great theoretical interest given Turkey’s position between Europe and Asia (as well as the MENA region) and given the unique context of a Western secular model of law regulating a predominantly Muslim population. Founded 60 years after the conclusion of the recruitment agreement between Germany and Turkey, the MPI’s Centre of Expertise on Turkey is dedicated both to answering theoretical questions and to providing concrete assistance with problems arising in legal practice.
Presently, the EU is an extremely important economic market for Turkey. In 2022, almost half of Turkey's exports were sent to EU Member States, especially Germany, France, and Italy. The converse is equally true for the EU, as Turkey is one of the Union's largest trading partners. Another important dimension of EU-Turkey relations is undoubtedly the large number of Turkish migrants resident in EU Member States. First starting in the second half of the 20th century, the wave of migration from Turkey to EU Member States, especially to Germany, consolidated the existence of Turkish nationals in the EU. Today, Turkish nationals represent the second largest group of third-country nationals within the EU, with the vast majority of them in Germany.
Further, although progress in accession negotiations has been minimal in recent years, Turkey remains a candidate for accession to the European Union. Consequently, legal developments in Turkey have considerable significance for the European Union and its future policies.
The same is true from a Turkish perspective. Legal developments in the European area and in the substantive law of certain EU and non-EU states, especially Germany, France, Italy, Austria, and Switzerland – jurisdictions which have influenced modern Turkish law in various regards – are important for the further development of Turkish law. All these circumstances make Turkish law an important legal system both for practitioners as well as for scholars doing comparative research.