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Turkey: Humanitarian law symposium

21-02-2002 News Release 02/08

The first-ever symposium on international humanitarian law for Turkish universities was held at Marmara University in Istanbul on 7 February. It was organized by the ICRC in conjunction with the university's Denizmer-Marinetr Centre. Professor Turay Yardimci, Marmara's rector, gave the opening address. The symposium brought together representatives of five Istanbul universities.

The event, which was attended by two ICRC delegates, was built around the presentation of the ICRC publication How does law protect in war? * and was intended both to strengthen links between the ICRC and Turkey's academic circles and to promote the teaching of humanitarian law in the country. It is part of the organization's worldwide endeavour to encourage the inclusion of that body of law in the programmes of leading faculties of law, international relations and journalism, which are educating the new generation of decision- and opinion-makers. The ICRC's strategy is to make available reference works and other teaching material, to " train the trainers " and to maintain a network of specialists by taking part in symposiums, competitions and similar events organized by universities.

Antoine Bouvier, the ICRC's head of academic programmes, feels that cooperation between the organization and Turkish universities is an important development since it includes them in the special effort which the ICRC has been making in recent years with others in the Middle East, the Russian Federation, the Caucasus region, Central Asia and Central Europe. " With the influence it enjoys throughout the region " , he said, " Turkey can do much to promo te humanitarian law in a part of the world that remains badly affected by armed conflict. "

* Marco Sassoli and Antoine Bouvier, How does law protect in war? ICRC, 1999