High Level Meeting: Democratic Oversight of the Security Sector

Where and when

12 October 2010, Bilkent University, Ankara


Ankara Seminars on Democratic Oversight Underway

Politicians, government officials, scholars and journalists met on 12 October 2010 at Ankara’s Bilkent Hotel to discuss democratic reforms in Turkey’s security sector. This was followed by a three-day workshop for practitioners from government and civil society. The two meetings launched CESS’s new Turkey programme that will run until 2013. 

Turkeyis firmly on the road to full democracy. Reforms are underway in many areas, including security policy. The question now is how the state will implement these changes. There are too few qualified civilian officials in defence and security. Besides, parliament and other oversight bodies are not well prepared for the job of monitoring the security forces. As the Turkish authorities work to close these gaps, they are receiving some help. The Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is sponsoring a series of CESS seminars promoting good civilian governance in Turkey’s security sector. Our Turkish partners in this venture are Bilkent University and the Istanbul Policy Center. In the course of three years, there will be eight seminars, a study visit and a concluding conference. The participants come from the Grand National Assembly, the Court of Audit, the National Security Council, various ministries, as well as civil society and the media. 

The seminars were held under Chatham House rules, which means we cannot quote from them. There was general agreement that Turkey should forge ahead on the path of democratic reform in civil-military relations and other areas. This will help the country to comply fully with the political criteria for EU membership. However, there is no point in asking the Turks follow a European blueprint for such changes. There is no such blueprint. Besides, the Turks must do what is right for their country.

The second set of seminars in December will start with a ‘paper workshop’ that will discuss analytic policy papers written by participants of the October seminars. Then the focus will shift to issues of financial oversight in the security sector.


Promoting Good Governance in the Security Sector of Turkey


If you have any questions regarding this event please contact CESS.