Assisting the new office of ombudsman
After a long process that required a constitutional amendment, in 2012 Turkey appointed its first independent ombudsman, a crucial step in Turkey’s EU harmonisation process. The ombudsman is responsible for inspecting public services and for resolving controversies between the state and citizens, without the latter having to resort to the courts. The new institution offers an alternative method for solving problems and is contributing to the formation of a culture of compromise in the country. As Turkey had no experience of an ombudsman, it is essential that the new institution is provided with immediate support through a twinning programme with a similar institution in an EU member state.
The aims of the project and its core activities
As part of wider efforts to promote and enhance the performance of public authorities in Turkey in terms of rule of law, respect for human rights and freedoms, transparency and fairness, and good governance, the objective of this project is to support the newly established ombudsman’s office in developing its work, in line with EU standards and the Paris Principles on human rights institutions.
The project focuses on three crucial and interrelated areas: building the capacity and establishing the organisational structure of the new office, analysing and eventually improving legislation, and raising the public’s awareness of the ombudsman through promotional activities.
In order to provide personnel with training in EU best practices and expertise, study tours to and work placement in related institutions in the EU will be organised. A management plan and precise job descriptions and responsibilities for each member of staff will be defined and internal procedures and rules devised.
A monitoring unit will be set up to review and detect any shortcomings in the law underpinning the ombudsman or in the functioning of the new office. Various stakeholders will be invited to participate in workshops to identify any problems and devise remedies for them. A final report will be submitted to the government and opposition parties with the expectation that the law will be changed if necessary.
In order to promote the ombudsman’s work, an extensive publicity campaign will be conducted through the media and on the internet. Leaflets and handbooks on the rights of citizens will be distributed to all 81 provinces and 892 sub-provinces.