Support to the Improvement of Practice of Mediation in Criminal and Civil Justice System in Turkey

What is the project about?

The Programme aims to support the endeavors of the Government of Turkey to improve the practices of alternative dispute resolution in criminal and civil justice system of Turkey. The Project will achieve this through the capacity enhancement and awareness raising programmes for judicial actors and other relevant professionals on mediation in criminal and civil disputes. In that respect, the Programme is expected to achieve the following outcomes: i) Efficient functioning of the judiciary enhanced through the improvement of mediation practices in criminal justice system of Turkey and ii) Efficient functioning of the judiciary enhanced through the application of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms at civil matters.

What is the situation?

It is globally recognized that there are strong links between establishing democratic governance, reducing poverty and securing human rights and access to justice for all. This recognition has led to the acceleration of justice reforms worldwide as one of the essential prerequisites of sustainable human development. In this regards, judicial reform is one of the high priority issues for Turkey as well and Government of Turkey clearly expresses its commitment on this field, in various national policy framework documents. The need for the continuation of judicial reforms is emphasized in 9th Development Plan of Turkey, through the statement of “endeavors aimed at service quality in the functioning and basic elements of judiciary will continue; in the framework of supremacy of law and requirements of rule of law, legislative and institutional arrangements aiming at rapid, just and reliable functioning of the judicial process will be undertaken.” Similarly, the 2008-2013 National Program of Turkey also emphasized the importance of faster, simpler, effective trial with a minimum cost and resolution of certain disputes through non-contentious jurisdiction, compromise and conciliation, in order to increase the efficiency, efficacy and functionality of the judiciary.

Furthermore, the Government accelerated its efforts of drafting an encompassing Judicial Reform Strategy as a follow up of these national policy frameworks. The Judicial Reform Strategy was introduced in September 2009 with the objectives of strengthening independence and impartiality of the judiciary, enhancing efficiency, effectiveness, confidence and professionalism in the judiciary, improving management system of the judicial organization, facilitating access to justice, introducing measures for prevention of disputes and increasing the effectiveness of existing measures, improving penitentiary system and continuation of legislation work for the EU harmonization. Regarding the development of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, the Strategy foresees the broad application of the practice of mediation in both criminal and civil justice system of Turkey, in accordance with its objectives as increasing the efficiency of mediation system in the criminal procedure, developing mediation and alternative dispute resolution methods for civil disputes and increasing the efficiency of the arbitration system.

What is UNDP’s mission?

Access to justice is a service line under the Democratic Governance practice areas identified by UNDP globally. UNDP’s strategy in access to justice is based on a set of four main principles. The twin principles of accountability (of duty bearers) and empowerment (of claim holders) provide an objective for capacity development strategies. Non-discrimination implies a particular focus on disadvantaged groups and special attention to the impact of the program on those who are not the focus of development interventions. Participation is a key principle underlying all stages in the programming process. Based on this corporate mandate, the overarching strategic objective of the proposed justice programming in Turkey is to work with the judiciary to contribute to its institutional capacity in the EU accession process and also legally empower the citizens for their access to justice.

Within this overall strategy, UNDP Turkey has been engaged to the Turkish judiciary since 2008 with the aim of supporting the judicial reform efforts of Turkey in its EU accession process. Special niche of UNDP in the field of access to justice and strengthening of the rule of law in Turkey is to provide technical assistance for individual and institutional capacity-building, based on its global experience and technical expertise in providing country experiences in judicial systems for strengthening the rule of law. Up to date, UNDP has provided support to the judicial reform in the perspective of organizational administration, the practices of mediation in Turkish criminal justice and development of programs for legally empowered citizens in Turkey.

However, the necessity to enhance the efficiency of the judiciary through decreasing the workload and strengthening the administrative and judicial infrastructure is considered to be urgent as it constitutes a requirement for the principle of democratic governance and empowerment of the disadvantaged groups for better access to justice for all in Turkey. In that respect, the Program at hand will serve for improving access to justice in Turkey as being one of the fundamental conditions for the establishment of the rule of law, through the application and effective implementation of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in both civil and criminal disputes.

How are we doing this?

Alternative dispute resolution is only a piece of models for facilitating access to justice. Therefore, the Program at hand will benefit from the achievements and lessons learned in joint initiatives between UNDP and Ministry of Justice in other fields of access to justice. In that respect, it is expected to create synergies among the ongoing and pipeline UNDP partnerships on development of programs for legally empowered citizens and improvement of legal aid practices in Turkey. In particular, the Program integrates the lessons learned of the past joint project between UNDP and Ministry of Justice on development of mediation practices in criminal justice system. As such, the experiences and results of the pilot mediation practices, training programs and knowledge sharing platforms for judicial practitioners in mediation in criminal justice will serve as guidance and are expected to improve the mediation practices in civil law.

The Program aims to support the judicial reform initiatives of Turkey for increased access to justice and enhanced efficiency of the judiciary, through improvement of the practice of mediation in criminal justice system of Turkey and application of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms in civil disputes. With this Strategy, the Program is expected to achieve two main outcomes: 1) Enhanced efficient functioning of the judiciary through the improvement of mediation practices in criminal justice system of Turkey and 2) Enhanced efficient functioning of the judiciary through the application of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms at civil matters. The first outcome is aimed to be reached through improving and increasing mediation practices in criminal disputes via the amendment of the current legislation on mediation in criminal justice, improving the institutional structuring and coordination mechanisms among responsible institutions for effective mediation practices in Turkey, increasing the individual and institutional capacity of the judicial professionals on mediation in criminal disputes, developing and broadly using guidelines to enhance successful mediation practices in criminal justice, developing a Code of Conduct for the mediators for improved mediation practices in criminal justice system of Turkey and scaling up the conduct of the outreach strategy on mediation in criminal justice. The activities to be carried out in order to reach the second outcome can be listed as enhancing institutional and individual capacity of the judicial professionals on mediation in civil disputes, developing an implementation model for mediation in civil disputes through the review of comparative models and pilot mediation practices, providing input for the finalization of the Draft Act on Mediation in Civil Disputes, raising individual and institutional awareness on mediation in civil matters through different means and mechanisms such as development of a holistic outreach strategy and user friendly manual addressed particularly to judicial professionals.

How will Turkey benefit?

Mediation processes, as one of the most effective mechanisms of alternative dispute resolution, are of significant importance to justice systems since they can serve as alternatives that complement formal justice systems in both civil and criminal cases, can significantly reduce the number of minor disputes before the civil and criminal courts and help to improve the availability of judges for cases, which must be tried.

Access to justice, especially for the poor and disadvantaged, is facilitated through mediation or other mechanisms of alternative dispute resolution as they address key obstacles facing these groups. In addition, from a right-based perspective, mediation practices often provide win-win solutions, in which both parties are satisfied with the result. More broadly, the diffusion of mediation and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms has become a significant factor in ensuring confidence in the legal framework as a whole, supporting and promoting the rule of law. In this respect, a recent Directive of the European Parliament and the Council highlights the importance of facilitating access to alternative dispute resolution methods/procedures, promoting the amicable settlement of disputes by encouraging the use of mediation and by ensuring a balanced relationship between mediation and judicial procedures. To this end, all activities and efforts oriented towards the improvement of practice of mediation in criminal and civil justice system in Turkey also bears great importance for Turkey’s EU Accession process, since securing better access to justice through mediation, as well as through other methods of alternative dispute resolution, is now part of the established policy of the European Union.


What has been achieved so far?

  • In June 2012, with the enactment of the Law on Mediation for Civil Disputes, it became possible to settle the civil disputes resulting from business or processes that the parties may decide freely by means of mediation.
  • UNDP supported the Ministry of Justice in order to establish an enabling environment for effective implementation of Law on Mediation in Civil Disputes through the awareness raising programs organized for judges, bar associations, academia, chambers of commerce and notaries. In addition, basic and advances training programs for mediators were developed and distributed for reference to all law faculties, Union of Bar Associations and Justice Academy who are responsible for training of mediators in Turkey.
  • UNDP developed a policy recommendations report for the establishment of an Alternative Dispute Resolution Department under MoJ in order to complement the mediation efforts in civil and criminal disputes. Currently it is under review of the Office of the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Justice.
  • As an output of the Project, Basic and Advanced Training Manuals on Mediation have been published and shared with related stakeholders with the aim to disseminate the information and knowledge conveyed in the referred ToTs and training programmes.  


Project Overview
Focus area:
Democratic Governance
Project number:
Project start date:
Estimated end date:
31 December 2013
USD 2.100.000
Project funding:
Government Cost Sharing and SIDA
Delivery in previous fiscal years:
Amount contributed per year by each project funder:
UN/National executing agencies:
Ministry of Justice
UN/National/NGO implementing partners:
UNDP Turkey, Union of Bar Associations of Turkey
Contact Details

Leyla Şen, PhD
Programme Manager
Tel: +90 312 454 11 19
Seher Alacacı
Programme Associate
Tel: +90 312 454 11 67
Pınar Arıkan
Projects Assistant
Tel: +90 312 454 11 84

Project Documents
  • Official Project Document English
  • Judicial Reform Strategy of Turkey English
  • Judicial Reform Strategy Action Plan of Turkey English
  • Law on Mediation in Civil Disputes English
  • Law on Mediation in Criminal Disputes English
  • Turkish Code of Criminal Procedure English
  • Regulation on Mediation English
  • Recommendation No: R (99) 19 of the Council of Europe Committee of Ministers concerning Mediation in Penal Matters English | Turkish
International and National Documents
  • Law on Mediation Turkish
  • Judicial Police - Mediation Request Form Turkish
  • Supreme Court of Appeals Prosecutor's Office - Mediation Request Form Turkish
  • Criminal Court - Mediation Request Form Turkish
  • Regulation on the Application of Mediation in accordance to Law on Criminal Procedure Turkish
  • Regulation on the Implementation of Mediation in Accordance to Law on Criminal Procedure (General Preamble) Turkish
Presentations / Papers of International Experts
  • Mac Lindsay Presentation Turkish
  • Alenka Meznar Presentation Turkish
  • Information Note for Press Turkish
  • October 2008 İstanbul Workshop Programme
  • February 2009 Training the Trainers Workshop Turkish
  • February 2009 Training the Trainers Workshop Modules 1-9 Turkish
  • Definition of the Modules Turkish
  • Workshop Documents Turkish
Reference Documents
  • Mediation in Criminal Disputes Handbook Turkish