At Arizona Attorney Magazine, we have been known to claim that we represent “Arizona law with a global viewpoint.” Now, we have some evidence for that assertion.

In December, a delegation of judges and lawyers from Turkey visited the United States. And Arizona was honored that we were one of a short list of their must-stop locations.

It wasn’t just our glorious December weather that drew them here. They explained that this state’s high-quality judges (and merit selection), as well as the good reputation of our lawyers, was the attraction.

I wrote about their visit to the State Bar of Arizona here. And then I followed up with a related story in Arizona Attorney Magazine’s February issue (online February 1).

But our online story caused a bit of a ruckus – not a full-blown international incident or anything, but still a minor cause célèbre (as they say across the Pond).

As reported to me, the “fallout in Turkey” included the following.

Apparently, a Turkish newspaper, called Venicag, found our story and photo on this blog site. That led them to publish the photo that I took (credit, please!?) on the front page of their newspaper.

My photo of the visit by judges from Turkey

I’m told that the newspaper is very anti-government, and that their article claims the Turkish government was hiding secret meetings with the United States. Essentially, it asserted that the Turkish Ministry of Justice was in the States to learn how to create a federalist system within Turkey.

So I guess no good deed goes unpunished. So much for covering local dignitaries.

In the meeting I attended at the State Bar, I didn’t spy any scheming. Of course, I didn’t attend the rodeo with them, so who knows what was discussed at the roundup.

We made the Turkish tabloids!

If you are multilingual, you can read the original story online here.

If not, here is a translation of the Venicag story (I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the translation).

Here is the Hidden Picture

“We find the system ideal”

Ministry of Justice Undersecretary Ahmet Kahraman and eight head of the department judges have examined state system in Washington, Colorado and Arizona. Head of the Arizona Court of Appeals Daniel Barker said the Delegation has told him “We found Arizona system ideal”. National Security Council says “One nation, one state”; there is a state system research in U.S. This is the picture of 2011 Turkey…

The secret communication between U.S. and Turkish Justice Ministries was taken to Parliament and Minister Ergin had left questions unanswered. The next picture which shows Turkish and American delegations together documented the contacts which Minister of Justice is trying to hide persistently.

Depending on the information Yilmaz Polat provided, we had informed public before that Minister of Justice Sadullah Ergin participated in a meeting at Atlantic Council named institution which former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Eric Edelman is a member of board of management. The Istanbul MP of Republican Peoples Party (CHP), Ahmet Tan gave a parliamentary question to Presidency of Turkish Grand National Assembly and asked “ Does your meetings are related to wikileaks documents? Is the aim of this trip is to increase information and experience on site? Upon the order of the Prime Minister, is there any work is being made related to transformation to state system? Will there be any arrangements related to state system among the constitution changes which your government promised to do after the 2011 elections?”

Ergin was not able to answer these questions. Yilmaz Polat popped another news when we were on leave and informed that he has made it confirmed that Ergin has met with Edelman in the mentioned meeting. Ergin again has not made any explanation.

Polat has sent us an information, document and picture of Justice Ministry Ahmet Kahraman and eight judges’ U.S.  visit. The picture is taken from U.S. press. According to the information U.S. officials  gave, With invitation of OPDAT, Office of Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training, an institution of U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. covering costs of the trip, Ministry of Justice Undersecretary Ahmet Kahraman and eight Head of the Department judges examined state legal system between the dates 2-11 December in Washington, Colorado (Denver) and Arizona (Phoenix). In order to resolve shortages in the Turkish legal system, the Arizona system was found ideal.

The Delegation went to Arizona after Denver and met with Head of the Court of Appeals Judge Daniel Barker, and was in touch with Supreme Court and Federal Court.

The Judge Daniel Barker said the Delegation told him that “We believe that there are shortages about guaranteeing public’s confidence in Turkish legal system. For this reason, we examine Arizona system which we know that it made a big progress.”

Head of the Arizona Bar John Phelps and Secretary General John Furlog also gave a briefing to Delegation around one hour at the Arizona Bar.

Arizona has a border with Mexico and Mexican origin  population in the State is significant.

The U.S. Justice Ministry has defined the aim of the visit as “being professional”.

The US people who professionalize Turkish Justice Delegation, did not skip saying that they took the Delegation to a lunch at Arizona Chase Field and rodeo as a social activity.

Well then, What is this OPDAT?

In the website of the U.S. Embassy there is an explanation  which says “A legal advisor is placed in U.S. Embassy in Ankara in 2006 affiliated to US. Justice Department Overseas Prosecutorial Development, Assistance and Training”.

In the American Justice Ministry’s internet site it is shortly said that OPDAT works in a close cooperation with Ministry of Foreign Affairs; The U.S. Government supports Turkish Government’s combat against murders committed by PKK and other terrorist organizations; develops legislation of combating terrorism and assists Turkey in criminal cases, financial fraud and public fraud.

Baris Terkoglu from OdaTV had said that OPDAT’s  U.S advisor in Turkey had a meeting on 25-26 January 2007 in Istanbul together with  Deputy Chief Prosecutors from 8 cities’ Courts which deals with terrorist crimes and organized crimes and also four judicial representatives. Mehmet Bozkurt from Aydinlik, had revealed that this U.S. prosecutor was Suzanne Hayden.

National Security Council says “One nation, one state”; there is a state system research in U.S.

This is the picture of 2011 Turkey…

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