The Turkish scholar Saadet Yüksel who was elected as a judge to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) aims to pave way for rulings that would contribute to the development of human rights both in Turkey and member countries of the Council of Europe, as well as in the entire Europe.
“My goal is to make rulings and undertake work that will contribute to the development of human rights in both Turkey and member states of Council of Europe, along with the entire Europe. I’ve always been interested in the judicial assurance of human rights in my work,” she has told daily Hürriyet.
Yüksel, an associate professor, was elected as the new Turkish judge to the ECHR following a voting at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), composed of parliamentarians from 47 Council of Europe member states.
Yüksel, 36, replaced Işıl Karakaş, the previous Turkish judge to the ECHR. Turkey’s previous candidate lists were rejected three times by the high court. Yüksel said the Turkish government nominated her in 2018 along with two other candidates.
Yüksel noted that she was bestowed the Distinguished Young Scientist Award in the legal field by Turkey’s Academy of Sciences (TUBA).
She is currently serving as the head of the constitutional law department at Istanbul University’s Faculty of Law and working also as a part-time faculty member at Koç University’s Faculty of Law.
“For me, justice is a part of life. I never thought of it as a separate matter, she said when asked about her understanding of justice. I can speak of a coherent sense of equity in which legal security is provided in the context of objective principles of law, such as democracy, the rule of law, the standard of justification and proportionality,” Yüksel added.
“I study and then carry out professional work on both continental Europe and Anglo-Saxon laws. In this context, I have been invited from many parts of the world to give lectures and seminars about the perspective of these two fundamental systems on human rights assurance,” she said, stressing her work as a visiting scholar at Harvard University, Georgetown University in Qatar and Northwestern University.
“Throughout my career, I have focused on the judicial protection of human rights, fundamental rights and the freedoms of constitutional law,” Yüksel added.
She worked on issues such as the free movement of workers in the European Union and the status of Turkish workers, the right to private life, freedom of worship in constitutional jurisdiction, assessment of child victimization in the framework of European Union law, and the assessment of the constitutional amendments relating to fundamental rights and freedoms in Turkey. Her studies were shown as reference sources in many international projects.
Asked about her mindset after graduating from Harvard law school for her second master’s degree, Yüksel said: “I was impressed by the atmosphere, the approach of jurists’ search for perfection, but also in a way of humility.”
“When you grow up in a house where justice is constantly spoken, you are influenced by something called the ‘law charm,’” she said about her childhood and family.
She recalled the inspiration and influence she drew from her brother Cüneyt Yüksel, an international jurist who is at Istanbul University’s Faculty of Law, and her father Mehmet Edip Yüksel, a former Turkish MP who was awarded for his outstanding service to Turkey, in her decision to be a jurist.