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European Union twinning projects and the Turkish police: Looking beyond Europeanization

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Abstract

The literature of Europeanization claims that the EU transforms the politics of member and candidate countries through processes such as social learning and socialization. This article questions the emphasis of Europeanization studies on ideational factors by looking at the example of Turkey-EU relations. The reform projects undertaken jointly by the EU and the Turkish police show that the EU seeks to transform the practices of candidate country actors, rather than simply their ideas. Moreover, the candidate country actors are not only passive learners, but they also seek to modify the content of EU reforms according to their interests.
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON TURKEY
European Union twinning
projects and the Turkish police:
Looking beyond Europeanization
Şerif Onur Bahçecik
Abstract
The literature of Europeanization claims that the EU transforms the pol-
itics of member and candidate countries through processes such as social
learning and socialization. This article questions the emphasis of Euro-
peanization studies on ideational factors by looking at the example of
Turkey-EU relations. The reform projects undertaken jointly by the EU
and the Turkish police show that the EU seeks to transform the practices
of candidate country actors, rather than simply their ideas. Moreover, the
candidate country actors are not only passive learners, but they also seek
to modify the content of EU reforms according to their interests.
Keywords: Practice of human rights, Europeanization, torture, policing in Turkey.
On October 12, 2012, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced
that the Nobel Peace Prize had been awarded to the European Union
(EU). The committee indicated that it wished to highlight the EU’s
contributions to peace, democracy, and human rights at a time when
it was undergoing a political and economic crisis. Among the successes
of the EU, the committee noted the advancement of human rights and
democracy in Turkey. Similar to the literature of Europeanization, the
committee seems to believe that the EU exercises its impact on mem-
bers or candidate countries by shaping the relevant values and identities
of the domestic actors.1 Actors are guided by collective understandings
Author’s Note: The author wishes to thank William Walters and anonymous reviewers for their comments
on earlier versions of this study and Pınar Bedirhanoğlu for her help. The usual caveat applies.
Şerif Onur Bahçecik, Middle East Technical University, Department of International Relations, bahcecik@
metu.edu.tr.
1 Heather Grabbe, “How Does Europeanization Affect CEE Governance? Conditionality, Diffusion and
69
New Perspectives on Turkey, no. 51 (2014): 69-96.
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON TURKEY
of what constitutes appropriate behavior in a certain context.2 Rather
than pursuing their interests in a “rational” way, they seek to satisfy the
social expectations of their community. From this perspective, the EU
membership process influences candidate countries not only through re-
wards and sanctions (the conditionality mechanism), but also through
processes like state socialization and learning. If the number of work-
shops, training programs, technical assistance projects, and country vis-
its are taken as indicators, the Turkish police would be expected to be
the branch of the state bureaucracy most prone to socialization with Eu-
ropean norms.3 However, the violent response to the Gezi Park protests
invites a critical interrogation of the optimism of the Nobel Committee
and others who think in a similar manner.
This study brings into question certain aspects of the literature of
Europeanization by looking at the example of EU-Turkey relations. In
the early 2000s, there emerged an expectation that Ankaras candidacy
process would lead to a transformation of Turkish politics and institu-
tions. The “hope” was that European norms enshrined in the EU mem-
bership criteria—such as democracy, rule of law, and human rights—
would diffuse into the Turkish state and further democratic politics in
the country. Although the EU membership prospect of Ankara was not
clear, many argued that the Europeanization process was applicable to
Turkey as well. For instance, Avcı states that there has been a political
avalanche of democratization,4 in part owing to the socialization and
learning processes provided by the EU. She implies that the interaction
between the EU and Turkey has changed the mentalities of bureaucrats,
leading to positive shifts toward democracy and human rights. Further-
more, Aydın and Çarkoğlu conclude that the “EU [is] engaged in a pro-
cess of democratic socialization,5 thereby diffusing the norms of the rule
of law and human rights into the Turkish bureaucracy. This happens
not only through social learning,” but also through the internalization
Diversity,” Journal of European Public Policy 8, no. 6 (2001): 1013-1031; Thomas Risse, Maria Green
Cowles, and James Caporaso, “Europeanization and Domestic Change: Introduction,” in Transform-
ing Europe: Europeanization and Domestic Change, eds. Maria Green Cowles, James Caporaso, and
Thomas Risse (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2001), 1-20.
2 James G. March and Johan P. Olsen, “The Institutional Dynamics of International Political Orders,”
International Organization 52, no. 4 (1998): 943-969.
3 Elif Babül, “Gezi Resistance, Police Violence, and Turkey’s Accession to the European Union,” Ja-
daliyya, October 2013, http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/14469/gezi-resistance-police-violence-
and-turkey%E2%80%99s-acces.
4 Gamze Avcı, “Turkey’s EU Politics: What Justifies Reforms?” in Enlargement in Perspective, ed. Helene
Sjursen (Oslo: ARENA Report No. 2, 2005), 141.
5 Senem Aydın and Ali Çarkoğlu, EU Conditionality and Democratic Rule of Law in Turkey (Center on
Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law Working Paper, 2005).
70 Şerif Onur Bahçecik
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON TURKEY
of European norms of democracy and human rights; that is, through the
identification of the political elite with the European community.
First, let it be said that what I contest here is not the existence of the
“EU impact” per se. Rather, the point is that the literature of Europeani-
zation that emphasizes social learning, the internalization of norms, and
shifts in identity does not provide the proper analytical tools to conceptu-
alize how the EU seeks to affect change in Turkey. This literature ignores
the myriad ways European actors seek to alter the practices of state actors
in Turkey. Moreover, the Europeanization framework often treats state
actors as passive recipients of norm diffusion. I suggest that we can look
beyond this literature by bringing in insights from Foucaultian political
sociology and the sociology of associations advanced by Bruno Latour. A
Foucaultian perspective shows that the EU exercises a “molecular form of
power”6 on candidate countries, seeking to shape, guide or affect”7 their
conduct. First, by attending to the “humble and mundane mechanisms”8
of power, we can detect processes at play in EU-Turkey relations, apart
from learning and norm diffusion. European actors seek to implement
their programs and govern the conduct of Turkish state actors not by im-
posing strict programs, but rather by appealing to their desire for recogni-
tion, shaping their material environments, and changing their work pro-
cedures. In other words, by utilizing particular tactics, EU actors seek to
reconstitute state actors through practices, rather than merely by chang-
ing their identities or the political norms they adhere to.9 By focusing
on practices rather than identities or norms in the reform of the police,
the paper highlights the significance for the reproduction of social orders
of such routines and mundane processes as conducting interviews with
suspects or victims, investigating crime scenes, and gathering evidence. In
this way, the paper goes beyond the spectacular and the exceptional10 in
such a way as to capture the effects of human rights reforms in Turkey.
Moreover, by putting practices at the center of analysis, the study refrains
from accepting the police and police officers as already formed and stable
objects and subjects. The focus on practices reveals that competing forces
6 Michael Merlingen, “Governmentality: Towards a Foucauldian Framework for the Study of IGOs,”
Cooperation and Conflict 38, no. 4 (2003): 361-84.
7 Colin Gordon, “Governmental Rationality: An Introduction,” in The Foucault Effect: Studies in Govern-
mentality, eds. G. Burchell, C. Gordon, and P. Miller (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), 1-51.
8 Nikolas Rose and Peter Miller, “Political Power Beyond the State: Problematics of Government,” Brit-
ish Journal of Sociology 43, no. 2 (1992): 183.
9 See Andreas Reckwitz, “Toward a Theory of Social Practices: A Development in Culturalist Theoriz-
ing,” European Journal of Social Theory 5, no. 2 (2002): 243-263.
10 Didier Bigo and Anastassia Tsoukala, “Understanding (In)security,” in Terror, Insecurity and Liberty:
Illiberal Practices of Liberal Regimes after 9/11, eds. Didier Bigo and Anastassia Tsoukala (London:
Routledge, 2008), 1-9.
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NEW PERSPECTIVES ON TURKEY
seek to constitute police identity and shape its present. For the field of
International Relations, a practice-oriented perspective goes beyond the
statist view of political power. Whereas conventional approaches to world
politics may view the EU as a toothless political organization, the study of
the relations between the EU and the police from a practice-oriented per-
spective indicates that the former can deploy capillary forms of power.11
Secondly, I highlight the agency of Turkish state actors by replacing the
Europeanization literature’s notion of norm diffusion, by which certain
norms are taught to passive receivers, with the notion of “translation.12
The dissemination of a certain program or project often requires active
adoption by other actors. These actors, in turn, may modify the content
of these programs or projects according to their own understanding and
interests. Translation is not only a process of filtration where local ac-
tors interpret ideas and norms according to their cultural background,
but also a political process of manipulation where actors advance their
own agendas with the help of borrowed norms and ideas. In the Turk-
ish context, this meant that programs to improve human rights were
appropriated by certain sections of the police bureaucracy and modified
according to their own professional interests. This point is also in line
with the growing literature on EU-Turkey relations that emphasizes the
agency of Turkish actors.13
In making these points, the paper will focus on the Turkish police
department and the twinning projects undertaken between the EU and
the Turkish police. This is useful for several reasons. First, the conduct
of Turkish police has been a significant issue in relations between the
EU and Turkey. The problem of torture by the police acted as an imped-
iment to the development of relations between European institutions
and Turkey, thereby giving rise to an intensive field of activity. Second,
the focus on twinning projects between the EU and Turkey proves to be
fruitful insofar as this mechanism is a nice illustration of “humble and
mundane” means to transform the conduct of actors.
The EU does not have a legal template to impose on candidate coun-
tries in the area of policing, nor does it have the human resources neces-
11 For a Foucauldian view of world politics, see Michael Merlingen, “Foucault and World Politics,” Millen-
nium: Journal of International Studies 35, no. 1 (2006): 181-96; Michael Merlingen, “Governmentality: To-
wards a Foucauldian Framework for the Study of IGOs,” Cooperation and Conflict 38, no. 4 (2003): 361-84.
12 Bruno Latour, “The Powers of Association,” in Power, Action and Belief: A New Sociology of Knowledge,
ed. John Law (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1986), 264-280; William Walters, “The Power of
Inscription: Beyond Social Construction and Deconstruction in European Integration Studies,” Millen-
nium: Journal of International Studies 31, no. 1 (2002): 83-108.
13 Bahar Rumelili, “Uluslararası İlişkiler Teorisinde Yerel-Görüşlülük ve Doğu’nun Özneselliği,”
Uluslararası İlişkiler 6, no. 23 (2009): 45-71.
72 Şerif Onur Bahçecik
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON TURKEY
sary to advise candidates on how to improve their human rights perfor-
mance. The mandate of Brussels is limited to a single paragraph of the
1993 Copenhagen Presidency Conclusions of the European Council,
known as the “Copenhagen criteria.” These include the “stability of insti-
tutions guaranteeing democracy, rule of law and human rights.14 Given
the ambiguity of this formulation and the lack of capabilities, the EU
has relied on technical assistance, among other things, with twinning
projects being used to govern the conduct of candidate countries. The
following section provides a history of this mechanism, seeking to show
the nature of the techniques employed.
Twinning as an instrument of governance
Twinning can be understood as a form of technical assistance (TA) that
takes place between two public agencies and seeks to improve the in-
stitutional capacity of recipient countries. Between 2002 and 2010, the
EU member states and Turkish authorities cooperated to implement
127 twinning projects.15 Twinning involves both the provision of tech-
nical assistance and training as well as financial support.16 The main
difference between twinning and other forms of TA is the fact that the
former often takes more than a year to complete, during which time a
“need analysis” is conducted so as to identify the shortcomings of the
recipient public organization. The popularization of twinning and the
EU’s adoption of this mode of delivering assistance can be explained
with reference to the “participatory” character of these projects. Since the
1990s, the World Bank has emphasized “country ownership” to improve
the legitimacy and effectiveness of international assistance projects.17
These measures, including the definition of twinning documents as
contracts,” sought to involve the recipients in the need analysis, design,
and implementation of assistance projects. A World Bank technical re-
port frankly said that “twinning may […] provide psychological or even
political advantages, in that a twinning contract gives at least the ap-
pearance of a two-way exchange.18 These aspects of twinning testify to
14 European Council, European Council in Copenhagen, 21–22 June 1993: Conclusions of the Presidency,
accessed September 24, 2014, http://www.consilium.europa.eu/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/
en/ec/72921.pdf.
15 Avrupa Birliği Bakanlığı, “Türkiye’de Yürütülen Eşleştirme Projelerine İlişkin İstatistikler (2002–2010),”
2013, http://www.abgs.gov.tr/index.php?p=40989&l=1.
16 Elliot J. Berg, Rethinking Technical Cooperation: Reforms for Capacity Building in Africa (New York: United
Nations Development Program, 1993), 48.
17 Jacqueline Best, “Legitimacy Dilemmas: The IMF’s Pursuit of Country Ownership,” Third World Quar-
terly 28, no. 3 (2007): 469-488.
18 Berg, Rethinking Technical Cooperation, 4.
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NEW PERSPECTIVES ON TURKEY
the calculated character of this practice of international assistance. By
“involving” the recipients of the TA in the analysis of problems and the
design of assistance projects, the suppliers seek to tap into their desire
for recognition and psychological gratification; these are calculated tac-
tics to influence the psychology of the recipients. This point is in con-
trast to the studies on the socialization of states into international hu-
man rights norms, which often argue that socialization happens through
spontaneous processes like persuasion, social learning, etc. Such projects
were launched in Turkey within the context of the 2002 Programming
of Pre-Accession Financial Assistance.19 The following sections contex-
tualize police reform in Turkey and seek to explore the twinning projects
and the functioning of this mechanism in detail.
Contextualizing police reform in Turkey
It has been pointed out in the introduction that the human rights re-
forms promoted by the EU have been adopted by certain sections of the
police bureaucracy. This did not necessarily take place through an idea-
tional conversion, as the Europeanization literature predicted, but more
through a mechanism of translation whereby local actors allied with the
EU to translate their power struggles into human rights reforms. By as-
sociating itself with reform,20 this “reformist wing” implied that the con-
tinuation of Turkey’s European vocation, a key government objective,
was in part contingent on the strengthening of their position within the
state. The alliance between the political elite and the reformist wing was
hampered as the government’s appetite for the EU process diminished.
This section bypasses that episode in order to focus instead on the very
conditions that made the emergence of a reformist wing possible within
the police bureaucracy.
This state of affairs can be seen as a part of broader attempts to rel-
egitimize the Turkish police, whose image has been tarnished by a series
of scandals since the 1990s. The police came under heavy criticism, espe-
cially after the Gazi incidents in 1995, where live ammunition was used
to disperse protestors. Less than a year later, the General Director of
Security, Alaaddin Yüksel, wrote: The time has come to make an evalu-
ation regarding new police functions, and in particular to restructure it
in line with new conceptions of right […] To further develop the police
19 Council of Ministers, “2001 National Program for the Adoption of the Acquis,” 2001, http://www.
abgs.gov.tr/index.php?p=58&l=1. Also see European Commission, Regular Report from the Commis-
sion on Turkey’s Progress Towards Accession, November 8, 2000, 9.
20 The labels “reform” and “reformist wing” are utilized for heuristic purposes: they by no means indi-
cate an approval of the strategy of this section within the police bureaucracy.
74 Şerif Onur Bahçecik
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON TURKEY
organization, an evaluation must be made that takes into consideration
the public’s expectations of the police.21 The reform initiatives were sig-
nificantly accelerated in the late 1990s with the establishment of units
within the police department responsible for human rights as well as
the initiation of human rights training provided by international insti-
tutions.22 Lectures on “police ethics” were included in in-service training
for the police department during these years, and in 2001 this subject
was integrated into the Police Academy curricula.23 Police ethics was
promoted as an essential element of training that would ensure the re-
spectability of the profession, maintain compliance with human rights,
and prevent conflicts between the public and the police.24 The launch
of community policing practices seeking to improve police-community
relations,25 the new emphasis on police ethics, and the enhancement of
connections between Turkish police officials and the international schol-
arly community through high-profile academic” conferences can be seen
as elements of the ongoing attempts to improve the police’s public image.
Over the last decade, the police force has increasingly sought to pro-
mote itself as a technically competent and scientific organization that
is able to solve crimes by utilizing crime scene investigation techniques.
Moreover, the police have emphasized their international connections
and cooperation as proof of their global respectability. The twinning
projects examined here have also been presented as further proof of the
transformation of the police into a more competent and internationally
recognized organization.
The main organizational dynamic that carried out this relegitimation
strategy was the emergence of a “younger reformist wing”26 in the police,
supported by some members of the old guard. This wing is defined as
a group of officers with high educational credentials (including master’s
and doctoral degrees on policing, criminology, and human rights) who
21 Alaaddin Yüksel, “Türk Polis Teşkilatının Yeniden Yapılandırılması,” Türk İdare Dergisi, no. 413 (1996): 1-6.
22 Fatih Karaosmanoğlu, “Türkiye’nin Demokratikleşmesi: Yaşam Hakkı ve Polis,” in Türkiye’de Devlet,
Toplum ve Polis, eds. Hasan Hüseyin Çevik and Turgut Göksu (Ankara: Seçkin, 2002), 113-36.
23 İhsan Bal and Fatih Beren, Polis Etiği (Ankara: Siyasal Kitabevi, 2003), 63.
24 For an attempt to justify the introduction of police ethics into the Turkish police with reference to
police training in the Ottoman Empire, see Fatih Beren, “Polis Meslek Etiği,” Polis Bilimleri Dergisi/
Turkish Journal of Police Studies 3, no. 1 (2001): 75-98.
25 For a study that conceptualizes community policing as a reflection of neoliberal restructuring, see
Biriz Berksoy, “Neo-Liberalizm ve Toplumsalın Yeniden Kurgulanması: 1980 Sonrası Batı’da ve
Türkiye’de Polis Teşkilatları ve Geçirdikleri Yapısal Dönüşüm,” Toplum ve Bilim 109 (2007): 35-65.
26 Collantes Celador et al., Fostering an EU Strategy for Security Sector Reform in the Mediterranean: Learn-
ing from Turkish and Palestinian Police Reform Experiences, 9. For a detailed study of the so-called re-
formist wing in the Turkish police see Funda Hülagü, “Burjuva Devlet Formundan Kaçış Yöntemi
Olarak Neoliberal Polis Reformu: Türkiye Örneği,” Praksis 30-31 (May 2013): 221-55.
75
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON TURKEY
are competent in English and sympathetic to Turkey’s pro-EU orien-
tation. This young generation often complain of the old guard within
the police, which tries to block their promotion, assigns them tasks ir-
relevant to their expertise, and scorns their credentials.27 The reformist
wing supported the twinning projects and took them as an opportunity
to showcase their own utility to the government’s foreign policy objec-
tives. To the extent that the reformist wing gained ground in the police,
a more modern policing practice would be instituted and relations with
the European Union would improve. This strategy of using such sym-
bolic capital28 as university degrees and international legitimacy was not
limited to the young generation. Some of the older police officers also
saw in the “restructuring” of the police an opportunity to improve their
position within the bureaucracy. Former police chief Hanefi Avcı can
be seen as just such an officer: he was once heavily involved in counter-
terrorism and was allegedly implicated in the torture of suspects during
the 1980s, but later converted to a pro-democratic and pro-EU position.
In the mid-1990s, when he was working in Diyarbakır, he slowly became
alienated from the government’s practices against the PKK.29 He was
also one of the authors of an intelligence report on the military’s prepa-
rations for intervention in politics. Although Avcı recounts these years
as a personal and unique story of soul-searching and transformation, his
increasingly critical stance toward the military can be seen as a strategy
to associate his career with civilian politics. In this context, his support
for democratization and his criticism of “militarism” and a militarist ap-
proach to the Kurdish question can be read as a symptom of the nascent
reformist tendency within the police.30
The critical attitude of some police officers toward the military brings
up the question of the competition between these two security institu-
tions. As Didier Bigo points out, the police and the army operate on
the same or overlapping terrains and are in competition for resources or
for the production of truth about the dynamics of social order and the
identification of threats to society.31 In Turkey, especially during times
27 Gülden Aydın, “Polisin Doktoralısı Garaja Amir Yapılıyor,” Hürriyet, January 26, 2006, http://www.
hurriyet.com.tr/pazar/3855399.asp.
28 For a similar case in Latin America, see Yves Dezalay and Bryant G. Garth, The Internationalization of
Palace Wars: Lawyers, Economists, and the Contest to Transform Latin American States (Chicago: Univer-
sity of Chicago Press, 2002).
29 Belma Akçura, Teşkilatın Adamları (İstanbul: Postiga Yayınları, 2010), 53.
30 Hanefi Avcı was later imprisoned for aiding a radical left-wing group, see “Hanefi Avcı Demands
Removal of Penalties from His Book,” Hürriyet Daily News, accessed online on May 15, 2014, http://
www.hurriyetdailynews.com/hanefi-avci-demands-removal-of-penalties-from-his-book.aspx?pageID=
238&nID=60503&NewsCatID=341.
31 Bigo, “Globalized (In)security: The Field and the Ban-Opticon,” in Terror, Insecurity and Liberty, 10-48.
76 Şerif Onur Bahçecik
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON TURKEY
of strain in civil-military relations, the intelligence and enforcement
capabilities of the police become even more significant assets to hold.
As the EU harmonization process accelerated, the reformist elements
within the police attempted to showcase themselves as a significant lev-
erage against the encroachment of the military in political life. One clear
indication of this were the police’s intelligence reports on the activities of
members of the military staff, as well as the Counter-terrorism Depart-
ment’s monitoring of nationalism (ulusalcılık), an ideology that, arguably,
had many adherents among the army’s ranks.32
Twinning projects relating to police and torture in Turkey
Table: List of twinning projects relevant to policing and human rights in Turkey
Program Year Project Title Beneficiary Institution
2002
Improvement of Statement-Taking Methods and
Statement-Taking Rooms
Turkish National Police
2003 Strengthening the Accountability, Efficiency and
Effectiveness of the Turkish National Police
Turkish National Police
2003 Strengthening the Police Forensic Capacity Turkish National Police
2004 Development of a Training System for Border Police Turkish Ministry of Interior
2004 Enhancement of the Professionalism of the Turkish
Gendarmerie in its Law Enforcement Activities
Turkish General Command
of the Gendarmerie
2004 Support to the Implementation of Human Rights
Reforms in Turkey
Human Rights Presidency
2005 An Independent Police Complaints Commission &
Complaints System for the Turkish National Police and
Gendarmerie
Turkish Ministry of Interior
2006 Civilian Oversight of Internal Security Sector Turkish Ministry of Interior
2006 Training of Gendarmerie Officers on European Human
Rights Standards
Turkish General Command
of the Gendarmerie
2009 Implementation Capacity of Turkish Police to Prevent
Disproportionate Use of Force
Turkish National Police
Sources: Avrupa Birliği Bakanlığı, “Twinning Mekanizması ve Türkiye,” 2012, http://www.abgs.gov.tr/
files/pub/twinnig_mekanizmasi_2012.pdf; European Commission, “Financial Assistance,” accessed on-
line on April 23, 2014, http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/fiche_projet/index.cfm?page=18963&c=TURKEY;
İçişleri Bakanlığı Avrupa Birliği ve Dış İlişkiler Dairesi Başkanlığı; “AB Projeleri Faaliyet Bülteni,” 2012,
http://www.diab.gov.tr/images/basiliyayinlar/00573404643c2d6.pdf; Ministry for EU Affairs, “Member
States Involvement in Twinning Projects in Turkey,” 2008, http://www.ab.gov.tr/index.php?p=40996&l=2.
32 Tolga Şardan, “‘Ulusalcılık’ Terör Dosyasına Girdi,” Milliyet, March 29, 2008, http://www.milliyet.com.
tr/-ulusalcilik--teror-dosyasina-girdi/siyaset/haberdetayarsiv/29.03.2008/510805/default.htm.
77
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON TURKEY
Between 2002 and 2010, 127 twinning projects were initiated between
Turkey and the EU member states. As can be seen in the list provided
in the accompanying table, ten of these 127 projects are related to the
Turkish security forces, with nine of them being relevant to torture and
ill treatment. This study explores three particular twinning projects ini-
tiated between 2002 and 2003 that are most intimately related to tor-
ture and ill treatment: Improvement of Statement-Taking Methods and
Statement-Taking Rooms;” “Strengthening the Accountability, Efficien-
cy, and Effectiveness of the Turkish National Police;” and “Strengthen-
ing Police Forensic Capacity.” The data for the study comes from the
author’s research, conducted between 2005 and 2007, and has been
complemented with newly published information. Although the impact
of these projects is not the primary focus here, the selection of projects
that were begun between 2002 and 2003 allows for a more sound evalu-
ation of the results due to the completion of the projects in question and
the passage of time. These projects, which amount to one-third of the
total number of relevant projects, are representative in that they deal
with central topics relevant to the police and to human rights. Ill treat-
ment by police is often associated with custody and statement-taking
process; accountability is seen as a remedy for police abuse; and the im-
provement of forensic capacity is often hailed as a panacea for torture.
Since the coming to power of the Justice and Development Party
(Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP), the government has made many
legislative changes in order to meet the requirements of EU political
criteria. The police department, which was already undergoing renew-
al, has received its fair share of reforms as a result of this process. The
subsequent decrease in the incidence of ill treatment, as well as more
significant community support, have often been explained as a “mental
transformation” of Turkish public administration and of the police or-
ganization. According to this discourse—which is ubiquitous in official
addresses by members of the cabinet, police officials, and newspaper
editorials—Turkey is undergoing a far-reaching change in this regard,
with the old ways of governing slowly being replaced with a new under-
standing.33 Under the AKP government, the argument goes, the state
has become a servant of the people. In line with this transformation, the
Turkish police have also started to change “mentally.
33 İrfan Dikmen, “İnsan Haklarına Zihinsel Yaklaşım,” Çağın Polisi Dergisi 108 (2010): 30; Kamil Elibol,
“Çevik Kuvvet’te Zihinsel Dönüşüm,” June 28, 2008, http://gundem.bugun.com.tr/cevik-kuvvette-
zihinsel-donusum-haberi/30065; “Turkey Determined to Purge Its Gladio,” Today’s Zaman, 2008,
http://www.todayszaman.com/newsDetail_getNewsById.action?load=detay&link=132371.
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This mental renovation metaphor represents new police practices as
a consequence of predominantly ideational changes taking place within
the minds of police officers. Arguably, the accomplishment of police re-
form has been due to the gradual internalization of human rights norms
by the police. The following analysis, without denying the possibility of
change through the internalization of the human rights norms, seeks
to show that the “police reform” has in fact been accomplished through
the deployment of technical devices and practices. A focus on changing
identities and the internalization of norms views police officers and bu-
reaucrats as homo sociologicus,34 whose conduct is guided by collectively
shared norms and beliefs and the order reproduced on the basis of a
normative consensus. I argue that a perspective that focuses on prac-
tices, rather than on “ideas,” is necessary for capturing the techniques
of government used by European actors to transform the Turkish pol-
ity. The twinning projects seek to reassemble police practices by putting
into play not only new values and legislation, but also new techniques
and technologies, including devices and scientific knowledge.
Strengthening the accountability, efficiency and effectiveness of the
Turkish national police
Practically speaking, the “Strengthening the Accountability, Efficiency,
and Effectiveness of the Turkish National Police” project began at the end
of 2004, following the selection of Spain’s National Police Corps (Cu-
erpo Nacional de Policía)35 as the twinning partner. The project had a total
budget in excess of 2.5 million Euros and lasted for two years.36 The main
sources of information concerning this project are the project fiche,37
jointly prepared by the Turkish side and the EU delegation in Ankara,38
and a manual for human rights training, including its annexes.39
34 Andreas Reckwitz, “Toward a Theory of Social Practices: A Development in Culturalist Theorizing.”
35 Spain has two law enforcement agencies at the national level: apart from the National Police Corps,
there is also the Civil Guard (Guardia Civil). The former has a civilian character and mostly operates
in cities, while the latter is a militarized police force responsible for smaller towns. See Amnesty In-
ternational, Adding Insult to Injury: The Effective Impunity of Police Officers in Cases of Torture and Other
Ill-treatment (London, 2007).
36 Secretariat General for EU Affairs, “Twinning Projects (Institution Based),” 2008, http://www.abgs.
gov.tr/index.php?p=40990&l=2.
37 Project fiches are documents prepared by the “beneficiary country” and the EU Commission in order
to identify what the beneficiary needs in terms of technical assistance, as well as the duration, overall
objectives, and budget of the project. The documents are then circulated in EU member states to
invite proposals for the twinning project. It can be seen as a detailed call for tender.
38 “Strengthening the Accountability, Efficiency and Effectiveness of the Turkish National Police,” 2003,
http://www.avrupa.info.tr/Files//Strengthening-accountability-police.pdf.
39 Deniz Halıcı Çelik, “Öğrenme ve Öğretme İlkeleri Notu,” in İnsan Hakları: Eğiticiler İçin Kılavuz (An-
kara: Emniyet Genel Müdürlüğü Terörle Mücadele ve Harekat Dairesi Başkanlığı, 2007).
79
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON TURKEY
The project fiche indicates the “Overall Objective” of the project as
to enhance the accountability, efficiency, and effectiveness of the Turk-
ish National Police in the discharge of its responsibilities in respect of
the enforcement of law in accordance with democratic principles and
having regard for the Human Rights of all citizens.”40 This emphasis
on the enhancement of accountability was significant for the Turkish po-
lice. As I was heatedly reminded by an interviewee, this project did not
amount to an admission of unaccountability among Turkey’s police, as
some human rights activists have charged for many years. Rather, my in-
formant argued defensively, it aimed to improve what already existed.41
This point is important to note, since Europeanization literature often
assumes that cooperation with the EU leads to adoption of European
norms regarding the rule of law and human rights. The attitude of this
informant hints at a lack of internalization of human rights values.
The fiche can itself be read as a terrain over which the EU and the
Turkish police bureaucracy has struggled, negotiated, and eventually ar-
rived at a consensus. As a joint document, the fiche reflects the views of
both the EU and the Turkish police bureaucracy, and at several points
reads like a record of a debate between these parties. For instance, one
paragraph concludes with a critical tone, pointing out that the EU can-
didacy process requires that the police carry out their functions “with
greater sensitivity and understanding, respecting democracy and human
rights for all citizens.” The next paragraph, as if trying to respond to this
veiled attack, warns that “police officials are carefully selected for their
human qualities [and] properly trained to perform their difficult duties
in an ethically correct manner.”42 In the next section, the Turkish police
again seem to adopt a defensive posture:
Improvement of police services and practice cannot be realized with-
out improving the conditions in which police carry out their duties.
The police work under very hard working conditions. Currently an
average Turkish police officer works 72 hours a week as compared to
37.5 hours for the average EU officer.43
The first exchange” can be read as a sign that the authors of the docu-
ment saw a need to balance criticisms of human rights with affirma-
tions of the good standing and “self-sacrifices” of the police department,
40 “Strengthening the Accountability,” 1, emphasis added.
41 Anonymous police official. Interview by author, June 30, 2007.
42 “Strengthening the Accountability,” 3, emphasis added.
43 Ibid., 4.
80 Şerif Onur Bahçecik
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON TURKEY
which again undermines the arguments of Europeanization and a “men-
tal transformation.” In reaction to such criticisms, the qualities of the
organization were emphasized, as was the fact that there is no problem
with the human resources of the organization itself. The second ex-
change attempted to reframe the problem of human rights violations. In
analyzing police violence, the factors that are usually taken into consid-
eration are the ultra-nationalist ideology of police officers and/or official
attitudes toward opposition groups.44 The notion that the unfavorable
working environment and conditions of the police fuels ill treatment is
often emphasized by public officials, including police officers themselves.
This was not only a defensive argument against human rights criticisms.
By including this factor as part of the equation, the police iterated its
longstanding demands for better conditions. This textual combat can
be read as an indication that police officials strove to steer the twinning
process, and at times saw the project as a means to translate their own
interests—such as better working hours or better pay—into elements
of the reform itself. This was a crucial act of translation of human rights
reforms by the police department, in the sense in which Latour used
the concept.45 The police officers seemed to adopt the reforms, but even
while doing so, they modified the content of the reform by appending
their own interests and agendas to the reforms’ success.
The project fiche problematizes three main areas of police admin-
istration in Turkey: the quality of police services; pre-service and in-
service training; and the personnel system, including promotions and
appointments. Regarding the first issue, the Turkish police were cast in
a dynamic process of renewal necessitated by public criticisms and the
pressures of adaptation that arose from cooperation with foreign po-
lice departments in criminal matters. As stated in the fiche, “the Turkish
National Police has been long involved [sic] in efforts to reorganize to
improve its services and performance and wishes to bring sporadic, dis-
concerted efforts into a comprehensive, strategic framework.46
The second problem area is personnel issues. The document admits
that the promotion and appraisal of the members of the organization
do not rely on rational principles. There is an automatic promotion sys-
tem, with officers usually being promoted once they fulfill the minimum
waiting period of three to four years. The authors of the document regret
44 Ali Çağlar, “Policing Problems in Turkey: Processes, Issues and the Future,” in Police Corruption: Para-
digms, Models and Concepts Challenges for Developing Countries, eds. S. Einstein and M. Amir (Hunts-
ville: OICJ, 2003), 399-432.
45 Latour, “The Powers of Association,”, 266.
46 “Strengthening the Accountability,” 3.
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NEW PERSPECTIVES ON TURKEY
that promotions are decided by committees who have no information
about the officers in question apart from their files, while confidential
performance evaluations are made by managers who “have no education
on how to measure the success […] more objectively.”47 The document
concludes that promotions and appointments are either coincidental or
political, since they are not based on rational principles, and that reform
of this system is necessary “to make the police organization more pro-
fessional and more accountable.48 As indicated in previous research,49
most police officers are not satisfied with the way promotions are made.
Hence, the inclusion of this element in the twinning project may be seen
as another instance of translating police interests into the European in-
tegration process.
The third area of problematization is training. The fiche conceded
that there is no uniform method in terms of the admission of new mem-
bers to the police force and the training of cadets. The education and
training “materials are not designed professionally and majority [sic] of
the lecturers in districts do not have a pedagogical background.50 The
twinning project emphasized the practical training of police officers
rather than educating them in human rights norms. The background of
this idea was that, in line with the principles of adult education, train-
ing could be effective only if it involved a practical element, to be real-
ized through case studies, role-playing, simulation, etc.51 The rationale
for this method of training based on experience is found in the training
manual annexes. Police officers are constructed as adults with real-life
experience, who dislike strict authority and are potentially resistant to
training and interested in knowledge that is practical rather than eman-
cipatory or simply pedagogical. Their already existent skills should be
honored, their creativity encouraged, and their experiences appreciated
within a context of amicable competition, interaction, and dialogue. For
the construction of a productive environment, trainers should avoid ex-
cessive criticism, praise students before correcting them, and give them
opportunities to correct their own mistakes.52
It has already been pointed out that the police officers aimed to uti-
lize twinning projects to further their own objectives, such as better
working conditions. Another advantage of the twinning mechanism for
47 Ibid.
48 Ibid., 7.
49 Murat Ayasılı, “Emniyet Teşkilatında Terfi Sistemi ve Yaşanan Sorunlar,” (unpublished master’s thesis,
Polis Akademisi, 2005).
50 “Strengthening the Accountability,” 5.
51 Brian C. Della, “Nontraditional Training Systems,” FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin 73, no. 6 (2004): 1-12.
52 Halıcı Çelik, “Öğrenme ve Öğretme İlkeleri Notu,” 13-14.
82 Şerif Onur Bahçecik
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON TURKEY
the police is that it provides opportunities to show that they are cooper-
ating with the European partners. A case in point is a statement given to
the press during the twinning projects, regarding the claim that the hu-
man rights record of the police is being improved thanks to cooperation
between the EU and Turkish police.53 By foregrounding its cooperation
with an official body in a European member state (in this case, the Span-
ish National Police Corps), Turkish police officers are able to construct
a new image for their organization. The message conveyed by the police
organization is that “Europe,” once a harsh critic of the Turkish police,
has now become a partner with whom they can cooperate and who ap-
proves the organization’s reform efforts.
Strengthening the police forensic Capacity
In 2005, the Turkish police teamed up with Germany’s Federal Crimi-
nal Police Office (Bundeskriminalamt) in a 24-month project.54 The p ro-
ject identified its objective as “to consolidate a functioning democratic
system, including respect for the rule of law through the integration of
modern scientific methods into Police investigative practices.55 This
objective underlines the EU belief—which is a common theme in trans-
national expert discourses—that policing is an essential factor when it
comes to the realization of democratic political life. This project also
affirmed the idea that scientific artifacts such as crime scene investiga-
tion, DNA databases, and laboratories can contribute to these political
objectives.
The twinning project sought to link DNA typing”56 technology to
the political objective of Turkey’s accession to the EU. The use of scientif-
ic investigation techniques “would result in more robust and transparent
investigations that would increase the likelihood of convicting the guilty
whilst protecting the liberty of the innocent.57 The assumptions of the
project were detailed in the following manner. One of the problems with
the law enforcement agencies in Turkey is the use of illegal methods in
the investigation of crime, especially torture. Law enforcement agencies
53 “İspanyol Danışman Alonso: Türk Polisi Gerçekten Başarılı,” Erzurum Gazetesi, June 29, 2005, http://
www.erzurumgazetesi.com.tr/default.asp?page=haber&id=4326.
54 “Commission Staff Working Document Annexes To The Report From The Commission To The Council
And The European Parliament 2006 Report On Phare, Pre-Accession And Transition Instruments
Country Sections & Additional Information {COM(2007) 679 Final},” 2007, http://eur-lex.europa.eu/
LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:52007SC1462:EN:HTML.
55 “Strengthening the Police Forensic Capacity,” accessed online on April 4, 2006, http://www.avrupa.
info.tr/Duyurular,Duyuru_Listesi.html?Mode=0&Year=2004&Month=12&RefNo=&PrgID=107.
56 Simon A. Cole, Suspect Identities: A History of Fingerprinting and Criminal Identification (Cambridge,
MA: Harvard University Press, 2001).
57 “Strengthening the Police,” 3.
83
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON TURKEY
have resorted to detention as both a means of punishment and an ele-
ment of the investigation of crimes. Intimidation of suspects and forcing
confessions was seen as a useful way of investigating crimes, even though
many suspects denied the statements that they had given at police sta-
tions once they came before a judge. The pressure exerted by superiors
on officers to solve crimes has led them to use such primitive methods as
torture. As one EU official involved in the project indicated, “in the past
the police had resorted to torture because they did not know any other
method.”58 According to this understanding, torture and ill treatment
were not corollaries of an Agambenian state of exception. Indeed, in this
discourse, torture appeared as a makeshift device used when the police
failed. It was not a conspiracy, but a desperate attempt. Thus, this pro-
ject implies and operates on the basis of the assumption that the police
resort to ill treatment when the normal resources that should be avail-
able are not available. Note that this assumption is far different from the
notion of “state crime,” which conceptualized torture and ill treatment as
conscious efforts by the state to intimidate opposition.
The twinning project’s conception of torture relieved the state of direct
responsibility, as torture was seen as something that the police resorted
to in order to achieve its legal duty of combating crime. In this rendering,
torture is seen as what criminologists call the “noble cause corruption,” the
use of wrong means to achieve right ends by the police.59 In the twinning
project, the state was similarly understood in liberal terms, as a political
authority that aimed to serve the citizenry. Political violence in the form
of torture was due to the incompetence of its agents, but was ultimately
an aberration that occurred in the process of the provision of security. If
such capabilities as forensic techniques and the knowledge to handle crime
scenes were transferred to Turkey, these problems could be overcome.
Twinning experts depicted torture as an exigency rather than as an
instrument adopted by the state to maintain power in the face of social
and political challenges: “integration of scientific evidence into policing
practices in Turkey will drive a move from confession-based investiga-
tion strategies to one founded on physical and scientific evidence.60 Thi s
scientific shift, it was hoped, would bring benefits both to the Turkish
population and to the EU. It would help the judicial system better dif-
ferentiate the guilty from the innocent, and would prevent unnecessary
lags in the system by doing away with the problem of retracted confes-
58 Anonymous EU official. Interview by author, June 19, 2007.
59 John Kleinig, “Rethinking Noble Cause Corruption,” International Journal of Police Science and Manage-
ment 4, no. 4 (2002): 287-314.
60 “Strengthening the Police,” 3.
84 Şerif Onur Bahçecik
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON TURKEY
sions. Besides these boosts to the image of the criminal justice system
on a national level, the improved use of forensic services would also help
fight against transnational crime.
The twinning project sought to expand the use of forensic methods,
building upon the catchphrase of “getting at the criminal through the
evidence rather than getting at the evidence through the criminal,61
which had been promoted by the then Minister of the Interior Sadettin
Tantan in his fight against organized crime. This phrase referred to the
extraction of confessions from suspects as the preferred and traditional
method of gathering evidence and called for its replacement by scientific
methods, which were seen as foolproof and better suited for the fight
against organized crime. This would be made possible by making crime
scene investigation techniques more widely available: the police would
look for criminal evidence at the crime scene rather than simply inter-
rogating suspects.
In terms of the effects, this twinning project contributed to the resto-
ration of public confidence in the police force. By expanding the use of
scientific methods, the police were able to solve more crimes, including
some cold cases. The media, accustomed to criticizing the police force
for its corruption, now looked in awe at the polices scientific capabilities
to throw light on highly complex crimes. A case in point was the media
reporting on a crime solved by police officers in Konya, a central Ana-
tolian city, by analyzing such evidence as tiny pieces of a wooden stick.
Such police work was reflected as being reminiscent of the television
show CSI Miami, which was highly popular in Turkey at the time.62 Th e
reporter in question dubbed the events “CSI Konya,” thus improving the
credibility of the police by reference to scientific authority and signal-
ing a change in the police department toward the more “technological.
This happened through the redefinition of the place where a crime had
been committed as a crime scene,” with the first police officers to ar-
rive on the scene being “first-response officers.” This construction can
clearly be seen in a “first response team guide” published by the Criminal
Laboratories Department of the police force.63 This pocket guide sepa-
rated the process into three phases: notification of an event, travel to the
scene, and arrival at the scene, with each phase having its own rules and
procedures. In each phase, the police officers were ordered to ask certain
61 “Mafya Dediğin Cahil ve Korkak Tipler,” Hürriyet, August 13, 1999, http://hurarsiv.hurriyet.com.tr/
goster/printnews.aspx?DocID=-95885.
62 Gülden Aydın, “CSI Konya,” December 24, 2006, http://hurarsiv.hurriyet.com.tr/goster/ShowNew.
aspx?id=5664859.
63 Emniyet Genel Müdürlüğü, İlk Ekibin Görev ve Sorumlulukları, 2006.
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NEW PERSPECTIVES ON TURKEY
questions, note down information, carry relevant equipment, and secure
themselves, the scene, and the passersby. Such a protocol was far differ-
ent from the behavior of, for example, the police officer who, in 2003,
checked a suspicious package with a broomstick he had borrowed from
a nearby shopkeeper.64
Statement-taking methods and rooms
The twinning took off in July 2004 between Turkey and Austria and
Germany, who brought to Turkey experts associated with Vienna’s Lud-
wig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights.65 The objective was the con-
solidation of democratization and respect for human rights and the rule
of law in Turkey through changing specific police practices.66 These po-
litical objectives were rendered into technical benchmarks of improve-
ment for statement-taking activity and the cooperation of certain ele-
ments of the judicial system. In this way, the twinning mechanism was
effectively translating democracy into concrete, measurable, and verifi-
able indicators. One should also note that, contrary to the Europeani-
zation literature, what the twinning project primarily sought to change
was the practices of the police officers, their ways of doing things, rather
than their norms and values.
The project included modules on improving statement-taking meth-
ods and the use of evidence, as well as defining the standards of state-
ment-taking rooms.67 The first module aimed to transform the state-
ment-taking process by training police trainers in new methods. These
methods included deployment of particular types of knowledge, such
as criminal psychology, body language, and criminal profiling. One im-
portant input in this module was the linking of the statement-taking
process to other forms of evidence collection, especially crime scene
investigation. The project proposed a new model of statement-taking
for its police practitioners. To start with, it dropped the terms interro-
gation and questioning and instead adopted the terms statement-taking
and interviews. The former were apparently considered too offensive and
presumed the culpability of the persons in custody, and as such were
not appropriate for interviewing victims or witnesses. The new Code of
64 Soner Kocaer, “Bombasavar Süpürge,” Milliyet, August 20, 2003, 5.
65 Press Release: EU Supports Project to Improve Statement Taking Methods and Rooms in Turkey (Delega-
tion of the European Commission in Turkey, 2004).
66 “Improvement of Statement Taking Methods and Statement Taking Rooms in the Republic of Tur-
key,” 2002, http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/fiche_projet/document/2002-002-555-01.01%20State-
ment%20taking%20methods%20and%20rooms.pdf.
67 A third module—concerning the strengthening of cooperation and coordination between police,
prosecutors, and lawyers—is not included here.
86 Şerif Onur Bahçecik
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON TURKEY
Criminal Proceedings also defined “interrogation” as a practice conduct-
ed by the courts, not the police. Moreover, the Statement-Taking Meth-
ods and Human Rights Training Manual68 produced for and used dur-
ing the project propounded a new approach toward statement-taking
and the truth status of statements obtained in this process. The manual
emphasized that information given by the interviewees was based on
perceptions, which are subjective, selective, and constructive. Statements
should be evaluated in relation to all the evidence available. This de-
valuation of the statement was also echoed by the introduction of a new
Code of Criminal Proceedings that emphasized the collection of mate-
rial evidence other than confessions.69 Moreover, this twinning project
involved a redefinition of the suspect as a more autonomous individual.
A suspect who is supposed to confess his crimes can be seen as a captive
of the criminal justice process, one who can liberate himself, in a sense,
by confessing the crime. The twinning project rendered this suspect free
by constructing statement-taking as an opportunity, or, as an EU expert
involved in the project put it, statement-taking “is not about getting evi-
dence, but is about confronting the suspect with certain suspicions and
giving him the opportunity to give a statement.70 The evidence from
fingerprints, DNA, or tape recordings is already there, incriminating the
suspect. Statement-taking was turned into an occasion for the suspect to
respond to these incriminating facts.
The second module sought to define the standards of statement-
taking rooms and to “make durable”71 compliance with human rights
during statement-taking by building thirty rooms in different parts of
the country. These rooms would feature appropriate lighting, air con-
ditioning, a comfortable chair and table, and a mirrored wall, as well as
digital recording equipment. As a whole, these rooms would actually be
composed of three rooms: one for statement taking, one for observing
statement taking, and one for monitoring the process and storing in-
formation by means of various devices. The Turkish police and project
partners agreed that statement-taking rooms should not be in isolated
locations, should not use spotlights, should use chairs of equal size and
comfort, and should refrain from including such intimidating elements
as upholstered walls.72
68 Constanze Pritz et al., Statement Taking Methods and Human Rights Training Manual, 2005.
69 İsmet Özkorul, “İfade ve Sorgu,” accessed online on June 7, 2010, http://www.ceza-bb.adalet.gov.tr/
makale/173.doc.
70 Karl-Heinz Grundboeck. Interview by author, June 7, 2007.
71 Bruno Latour, “Technology Is Society Made Durable,” in A Sociology of Monsters: Essays on Power,
Technology and Domination, ed. John Law (London: Routledge, 1991), 103-131.
72 Final Report: Improvement of Statement Taking Methods and Statement Taking Rooms in the Republic of
87
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON TURKEY
The impact of the twinning projects
In terms of outcomes, the Improvement of Statement-Taking Meth-
ods and Statement-Taking Rooms” project has been instrumental in the
development of standards for statement taking and in the building of
thirty statement-taking rooms around the country. A statement-taking
manual has been prepared and distributed to relevant police units for
training purposes. According to an evaluation report, the project has led
to a “reduction in the number of claims of ill treatment.73 Within the
context of twinning, 200 trainers and 2,475 police officers have been
trained in statement-taking methods. For the “Strengthening the Ac-
countability” project, a corporate plan for the reorganization of the po-
lice department’s human resources management has been prepared.74
Although a regulation published in the Official Gazette introduced per-
formance evaluations into the police department,75 the more substantial
portions of this corporate plan—which emphasized a meritocratic pro-
motion system, social and economic rights, and concise job descriptions
and terms of reference—seems to have been left out.76 However, an eth-
ical code for law enforcement, which was one of the project’s outcomes,
was adopted and published as a circular of the General Directorate of
Security in 2007.77 2,910 police officers have received training for this
project. Finally, through the “Strengthening Police Forensic Capacity”
project, modern crime labs have been established and existing labs have
been upgraded to European standards. This project also involved the
publication of training manuals for crime scene investigation and first-
response staff.78
A more comprehensive evaluation of the twinning projects in Tur-
key was conducted by a private consultancy company, Ecorys, which was
contracted by the European Commission.79 Although the report does
Turkey (European Commission, 2005), 9.
73 Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights, Annual Report 2005 (Vienna: Ludwig Boltzmann Insti-
tute of Human Rights, April 2006), http://www.univie.ac.at/bim.
74 “EU Supports Police Reform in Turkey,” 2007, http://www.avrupa.info.tr/ContentManager/Docu-
mentViewer.aspx?DocumentGUID=D69705B6-A945-4083-9660-5F.
75 Resmî Gazete, “Emniyet Hizmetleri Sınıfı Personeli Rütbe Terfileri ve Değerlendirme Kurullarının
Çalışmalarına İlişkin Yönetmelikte Değişiklik Yapılmasına Dair Yönetmelik,” June 26, 2010, http://
www.resmigazete.gov.tr/eskiler/2012/06/20120626-9.htm.
76 Emniyet Genel Müdürlüğü, “Türk Polis Teşkilati’ndaki İnsan Kaynaklari Yönetimi Sisteminin ve Kariyer
Planlamasının Geliştirilmesi Strateji Belgesi” (Ankara: Barem Matbaası, 2007).
77 Kırşehir Emniyet Müdürlüğü, “Polis Kolluk İlkeleri,” 2007, http://www.kirsehir.pol.tr/Sayfalar/po-
liskollukilkeleri.aspx.
78 Police Forensic Laboratories Department, “Projects,” accessed May 10, 2014, http://www.kpl.pol.tr/
EN/Sayfalar/projects.aspx.
79 Ecorys, “Review of Twinning in Turkey. Annexes to the Final Report,” 2011, http://ec.europa.eu/en-
largement/pdf/financial_assistance/phare/evaluation/2013/annexes_to_final_report_review_of_
88 Şerif Onur Bahçecik
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON TURKEY
not cover the twinning projects examined here, it concludes that those
projects within the scope of the “Justice and Home Affairs” (JHA) sector
are “slightly below” the average in terms of impact when compared with
other twinning projects in Turkey. The “Police Complaints Commission”
and Professionalism of the Gendarmerie” twinning projects are cited as
“bad practice” cases of twinning, with the projects being impeded by fre-
quent staff changes, a lack of capacity in communication, and logistical
problems. The Ecorys report notes that the JHA sector operates in a
politically sensitive environment, and that the worsening of the broader
Turkish- EU relationship has slowed the projects down. However, it is
possible to say that, while a complete breakdown of contacts between
the EU and the police department is not to be expected, the projects will
become increasingly “technical” and ultimately avoid politically sensitive
issues. In this context, one should also note that, although the twinning
project involving the gendarmerie was not seen as successful, the initia-
tion of the project itself was interpreted as an “increased willingness of
the Gendarmerie to engage with the EU.”80
A comprehensive evaluation of the impact of twinning projects on ill
treatment and torture is difficult to make. Indeed, the measurement of
crime is always contested, and the measurement of torture as a specific
form of state crime confronts problems of definition, lack of reporting,
and cover-ups. However, mention can be made of four different sources
of information regarding the frequency of torture and ill treatment: the
internal disciplinary mechanisms of the Ministry of the Interior; the of-
ficial statistics of the Ministry of Justice; victim reports to NGOs such
as the Human Rights Association (İnsan Hakları Derneği, İHD) and
the Turkish Human Rights Foundation (Türkiye İnsan Hakları Vakfı,
TİHV); and finally the Human Rights Presidency (İnsan Hakları
Başkanlığı, İHB), which was initially attached to the Office of the Prime
Minister but later turned into the Turkish Human Rights Institution
(Türkiye İnsan Hakları Kurumu,TİHK). The information produced by
these various organizations and bodies is not commensurate, as they all
utilize differing definitions of torture and ill treatment. It is difficult to
estimate what proportion of the cases of torture and ill treatment are
reported to NGOs or official bodies. The statistics of the Ministry of
Justice, being based on the number of cases on specific articles of the
Turkish Criminal Code, are especially problematical in that prosecutors
twinning_turkey.pdf; Ecorys, “Review of Twinning in Turkey. Final Report,” 2011, http://ec.europa.eu/
enlargement/pdf/financial_assistance/phare/evaluation/2013/final_report_review_of_twinning_tur-
key_23_05_2011.pdf.
80 Ecorys, “Review of Twinning in Turkey. Annexes to the Final Report,” 183.
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NEW PERSPECTIVES ON TURKEY
and judges have a tendency to base prosecution on articles with smaller
penalties, such as “intentional injury,” rather than torture and ill treat-
ment.81 Moreover, torture and ill treatment is often reported by victims
with a certain level of political and human rights awareness. Therefore,
a drop in the number of complaints of torture and ill treatment may
not be valid for suspects of such ordinary crimes as theft and burglary.
Nevertheless, a study of the information provided by the İHD and the
now-defunct İHB provides a mixed picture (see Graph 1). While the
İHB statistics (labelled İHB in Graph 1) indicate a steady decline in
what the institution defines as “torture,” the İHD reports that there has
been a 74 percent decrease in the number of allegations of torture and
ill treatment (labelled İHD in Graph 1) between 2003 and 2013, in
spite of a sharp rise in 2008. Recently, the İHD also started to measure
what it calls “torture and ill treatment outside of places of detention” (la-
belled İHD2 in Graph 1), with the frequency of allegations fluctuating
between 2003 and 2013, with a slight tendency to increase. When the
anecdotal and statistical evidence is considered, it is possible to say that
the worst forms of torture have been reduced to a great extent, but it is
nonetheless misleading to declare victory over torture and ill treatment
as a whole.
Graph 1
81 Meryem Erdal, “Cezasızlık,” Diyalog 3 (2009): 54-60. For a recent court of appeals decision that
promises to end this practice, see Yasemin Güneri, “Yargıtay: ‘Jandarma Dayağı Yaralama Değil
İşkencedir’,” Habertürk, May 5, 2014, http://www.haberturk.com/gundem/haber/945109-yargitay-
jandarma-dayagi-yaralama-degil-iskencedir.
90 Şerif Onur Bahçecik
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON TURKEY
Implications for the literature
The analysis of twinning projects has implications for the study of Eu-
ropeanization and for constructivist approaches in the field of Interna-
tional Relations. In connection with both of these literatures, this study
has shown that Turkish participation in twinning and the outcomes of
the projects cannot simply be taken as a harmonization of Turkish offi-
cial mentalities, but instead has to be understood in terms of relations of
power. It would be naive to say that contact and socialization with Euro-
pean colleagues transformed the mentalities of Turkish bureaucrats over
time. As has been argued here, relations between EU experts and local
officials need to be understood as a political process whereby the former
engage in microphysical governing by attempting to modify the practices
and routines of police officers. This intervention is carried out through a
technicalization of the problem of torture and by recommending to the
police certain scientific solutions and technological artifacts (e.g., new
methods of statement-taking, new ways of designing statement-taking
rooms, increased attention to verifiable evidence, etc.). Although these
attempts may be seen as ordinary elements of a technical assistance
scheme, when relations of power are considered at the micro level, they
appear as a seemingly neutral strategy to govern candidate state conduct.
A second implication of this study is the emphasis put on the agency of
“recipients of technical assistance.” The literatures of both Europeaniza-
tion and constructivism often assume that European or global norms will,
over time, be diffused through social learning and imitation. The analysis
of twinning projects, however, indicates that there is no straightforward
diffusion of norms or ideas in global politics. The idea of democratic po-
licing is accepted by local officials not because of the attractiveness of the
soft power of the EU,82 but rather because it is seen as useful in internal
struggles for power. This idea is deployed by local actors in their competi-
tion with other sections of the security bureaucracy, such as the military,
and moreover it is repackaged as a project that satisfies their professional
interests, such as meritocratic promotion, reduced working hours, and a
higher status within the state hierarchy. This aspect of translation is often
missed or overlooked by the extant studies of human rights in Turkey.
Conclusion
This study has considered the twinning procedure as an international
mechanism that the EU utilizes to govern the conduct of candidate
82 Ian Manners, “Normative Power Europe: A Contradiction in Terms?”, JCMS: Journal of Common Mar-
ket Studies 40, no. 2 (2002): 235-58.
91
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON TURKEY
countries. Adopting an approach that conceptualizes government as
an enterprise involving calculation, expertise, and intrigue, rather than
regulation or institution building, has allowed a broader perspective into
the workings of this mechanism. The twinning mechanism was not nec-
essarily a rational process of the transfer of know-how, but rather relied
on calculated tactics, such as appealing to the desires of the recipients of
TA and stimulating an atmosphere of partnership.
Moreover, twinning functioned as a device of translation. Objectives
like democracy, human rights, and the rule of law were translated into
specific projects of the improvement of police practices. In this way, it
has become possible to think that, for example, creating statement-tak-
ing rooms equipped with adequate heating, ventilation, and comfortable
chairs, or establishing a national DNA database, contribute to democra-
tization in a country. Democratization, liberty, and the human rights of
citizens were not necessarily a problem of norms and values according to
this rendering. Rather, it became possible to simply “forget” about many
of the problems and allegations of torture by concretizing human rights
practices in such socio-technical artifacts as rooms and laboratories. In
addition to these, the study has shown that twinning technology has
also been used as a means to enroll actors into the objectives of human
rights reform. By design, twinning included procedures of negotiating,
consultation, and understanding the stakeholders. In relation to this, it
has deployed tactics used by the global human rights community of ex-
perts, such as experiential learning.
This study has also sought to emphasize the significance of practices
rather than “mental entities” in the constitution of a social order. As seen
above, the EU sought to transform the conduct of candidate country
bureaucracies by shaping the tacit knowledge of officers (such as, for
instance, altering statement-taking practices) and promoting the use
of such new technologies as DNA typing. The constitution of a new
democratic order does not necessarily occur through a new ideational
consensus on human rights, but rather through the changing practices
of actors.
In terms of its effects, twinning has legitimized and sought to dis-
seminate science, technical knowledge, and expertise as a means to solve
intractable problems like torture. In the process, much as the idea of
twinning had prefigured, association with the EU and engaging in pro-
jects with this supranational organization has come to be seen as a source
of legitimacy by certain elements of the police force. It would be wrong
to assume that this sentiment that the EU equals legitimacy is shared
by all sections and ranks of the police. Nevertheless, the emphasis on
92 Şerif Onur Bahçecik
NEW PERSPECTIVES ON TURKEY
twinning shows that cooperation with the EU has certainly become a
positive career move for at least some members of the profession.
The Gezi Park protests and the subsequent police response have once
again confirmed that the twinning projects, and technical assistance pro-
jects in general, are what James Ferguson calls “anti-politics machines,83
rendering political issues into technical problems that can be solved with
scientific and capacity-building measures. The EU’s horizon remains
within the limits of the development discourse that underwrites techni-
cal assistance. Within this discourse of expertise, “state crimes” turn into
failures that point to the need for capacity building. There is less need
for building up social and political consensus around basic rights and
freedoms, since rights can be secured simply through refurbished state-
ment-taking rooms equipped with cameras. Despite persistent failure, it
seems that the machine will continue to produce policies and programs
that radiate an aura of expertise.
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96 Şerif Onur Bahçecik
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There can be little doubt that the International Monetary Fund is currently facing a serious challenge to its legitimacy. Such criticisms echo similar debates that have surrounded other international organisations, including the World Bank, the United Nations and the World Trade Organization. As these different institutions seek to respond to this challenge, the Fund's efforts to respond to its critics provide a number of interesting lessons and warnings. In this article I examine the Fund's response to challenges to its legitimacy by focusing on one of the often overlooked aspects the institution's recent reforms: the IMF's efforts to change its relationship with borrowing countries by revising its conditionality guidelines and pursuing greater domestic ‘ownership’ over the reforms that it requires. While this response helps to resolve a number of legitimacy gaps that have emerged in the past decades, this strategy has also produced a number of new legitimacy dilemmas that raise questions about the sustainability of the IMF's current reform efforts. Chief among them is the limit to the Fund's ability to obtain the deeper political legitimacy that it seeks by using the same narrowly technical economic strategies that it has relied on in the past.
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