Aegean Odyssey
Athens, Greek Isles, Istanbul



Judge William E. Byrne (Berti), San Jose Superior Court
Judge Raymond Choate (Jeanette), Los Angeles Superior Court
Judge Vernon G. Foster (Ines), Los Angeles Superior Court
Justice Jack E. Goertzen (Fro), California Court of Appeals
Judge William B. Keene (Pat), Los Angeles Superior Court
Judge James G. Kolts (Dorothy), Los Angeles Superior Court
Judge John R. Stanton (Meredith), Los Angeles Superior Court
Executive Secretary Diane Bowen, U.S. District Court
Tour Conductor Bette Shornick, Jackson, Mississippi

THURSDAY:  Academy members arrived in Athens and were met by the local guide Mina Graneta.  On the way to the Athens Plaza Hotel, the group enjoyed a city tour by bus of Athens.  In the evening, the group held the Welcome Dinner at the Dionyssos Restaurant overlooking the Acropolis.  Everyone was presented with a magnifying paperweight commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Academy.

FRIDAY:  All of the meetings in Greece were arranged with the help of Athina Karamanlis, who is a lawyer in the Supreme Court of Greece, and an attorney for the European Court of Brussels.  She is presently enrolled at Columbia Pacific University in Honolulu to receive her doctorate in the area of international business law.  She has masters degrees in economics and law from the University of Athens.  She writes weekly syndicated news articles on the Greek law read in three continents.  In conjunction with the Supreme Court judicial history center of Hawaii, she is completing a project on the history of Hawaii’s banking laws and practices as well as a comparative analysis of the ancient Greek and ancient Hawaiian laws and history of judicial practices in the Pacific Basin.  She is the author of 20 published works.  In addition to her help, her assistant in Athens, Marita Smaragdi, an attorney, escorted the Academy members to the meetings and acted as an interpreter when necessary.

The Academy’s first meeting was with Justice Stefanos Matthias, the President and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (Arieos Pagos).  

There are four types of courts in Greece: Small Claims Court, Court of First Instance, Court of Appeal and Supreme Courts.  The Supreme Court is divided into three parts.  The Arieos Pagos is the highest court in Greece.  It handles civil and criminal cases which are appealed from the Court of Appeal to the Arieos Pagos.  It has a duty to unify jurisprudence and guarantee that all the courts apply the law in the same way.  The Supreme Court has 55 members, many of whom are not exclusively judges, but also inspectors of courts.  The inspectors travel all over Greece to insure that the courts are in order and everything is done according to the law.  They do not inspect opinions, just the judicial proceedings.

The Arieos Pagos is divided into departmental areas: civil, specialization, labor, merchant, and penal.  The number of judges presiding is determined by the type of case, half plus one is needed for a majority.  In penal cases the Arieos Pagos does not examine the facts of the case, only the legality.

The Supreme Administrative Court (Symboulio Tis Epikrateias) hears cases involving administrative authorities who violate the law or “for excess” of power, and “elaboration of all decrees of a general regulatory nature.”  The same judges may sit on both sides of the Supreme Court to hear cases.  

The High Special Court is composed of judges from the Areios Pagos and the Symboulio Tis Epikrateias and its functions include arbitration of Supreme Court decisions where dual but conflicting decisions exist, decision making in election matters, labor disputes and national constitutional issues.

There are 16 Courts of Appeal in Greece with judges being selected from existing judges of the First Degree Courts.  A panel of judges can be from one to seven in number, depending on the type of case.

There are 52 First Degree, also known as First Instance Courts in Greece.  They hear the cases as a trial court and give an opinion in the form of a judgment.  In criminal cases there are no executions and judgments can be appealed.  Jury trials are held only for crimes of violence, not infractions.  Jury trials are heard by four citizens and three judges.  The punishment for murder is life imprisonment, in 20 years inmates are eligible for parole.  Greece has a very low crime rate which Justice Matheas attributes to the traditions of the Greek culture.  Judges in the First Degree Courts are selected by examination.

The Small Claims Courts decide both civil and penal cases not exceeding 1,000,000 Greek Drachmas (about $3,500).  One judge presides on each case.  Judges are appointed by examination, candidates for the position must be at least 27 years of age and a practicing attorney for two years.

The population of Greece is 10 million.  There are approximately 2,000 civil and penal judges in Greece.   Greece is a member of the European Union.

Judges are appointed by presidential decree in compliance with a law specifying the qualifications and the procedure for their selection.  Retirement is compulsory at the age of 65 for judges up to the rank of Court of Appeal.  In the Supreme Court, retirement is compulsory at the age of 67.  The salary for judges in the lower courts is approximately $1,500 per month and goes up to approximately $4,000 per month in the highest courts.

Justice Matthias showed the Academy judges around the Arieos Pagos, including the hearing room where all the judges sit en banc, and the conference room, and enrobing room.  The Academy presented Justice Matthias with a paperweight to commemorate the visit.  At a later date the Academy voted to extend Honorary Membership to Justice Matthias.

Next members met with Dr. Constantinos Demopoulos (M.D.), the Dean of the Law School of Athens, and Dr. Nicolas Klamaris, the  President of the University of Athens, Greece’s “Most Prestigious School.”  Greek law is based upon the Hellenic Constitution of 1975/1986.  The law school has three departments: legal, economic and political sciences.  Students study civil, public, penal, administrative, trade, procedural and general law, and also take classes in church (traditional) law, philosophy, labour and sociology.  Students are admitted to the law school after passing general examinations.  About 2,500 are enrolled each year; they study for eight semesters taking tests at certain sections to pass to the next level.  After completion of law school students have to pass “difficult” boards.  The maximum age to pass the Greek Bar is age 33, after that, only in extreme cases, is one allowed to become a lawyer.  

The judges next met with Mr. Antonios Roupakiotis, President of the Athenian Bar Association.  Membership in the Bar is mandatory, the Bar functions in a social role to promote relations in the legal community and also handles disciplinary matters.  The term of office for the President is three years, there is no salary; it is an honorary position.  Mr. Roupakiotis also practices law while he holds this position.  

There are over 30,000 lawyers in Greece, over 16,000 of them are in Athens, which is causing a problem as many are unemployed.  Judges may return to the practice of law if they were in the Court of Appeals or higher, when they have been a judge for less than three years or when they retire and take their pensions.

In civil cases witnesses are not obliged to testify, they only have to testify if they want to.  In penal cases witnesses have to testify.  Mr. Roupakiotis feels the most serious problem in Greece is “soft” drugs and they are trying to confront this problem socially as well as penally.

Mr. Roupakiotis was presented with a paperweight to commemorate the visit of the Academy.

The final meeting of the morning was with Justice Michael Decleris, Vice-President and Justice of the Supreme Court (Symboulio Tis Epikrateias).  Justice Decleris showed Academy members around the court, including the courtroom where the full court meets to hear cases.  It was modeled after a French prototype.  Judge Decleris has been with the court 40 years, and attended Yale University.

The Symboulio Tis Epikrateias has six planetary sections: social insurance, taxation, civil, public economic law, environment and municipalities and universities.  It has 100 judges on three levels and produces approximately 5,000 decisions a year.  The role of the lawyers is very limited in the Supreme Court.  Judges have full power in this court and are not limited by the same procedural matters that are found in the lower courts.  When a petition is lodged with the court, a judge takes over and conducts an investigation (like an auditor in France).  The investigating judge can talk in camera with the lawyers, but the lawyers cannot state anything to the court that they did not write down in the petition.  There are also two advisors on a case.  All the members of the court studied abroad in the United States, England, Germany or France.  

Justice Decleris was presented with a paperweight to commemorate the visit of the Academy.  At a later date, Academy members voted to extend Honorary Membership to Justice Decleris.

Justice Decleris presented Academy President Jim Kolts with copies of books he edited entitled Towards Expert Government, State Science versus Managerialism in Government, and Manuel De Systemique, Handbook of Systems Science, both dealing with physical, biological and human systems (systems science).  “Looking forward, I hope that in this most ancient part of Greece and Europe where Minos took the Laws from Zeus’ hands to establish civilized government, the European School of Systems Science will continue this noble tradition with the help of Systems Science.” 

Academy members enjoyed lunch at the Hermion Restaurant in the Plaka (the old town of Athens), and then visited the National Archeological Museum, ranked among the top ten of the world’s greatest museums, housing artworks spanning 2,500 years of ancient Greek civilization, including Cycladic, Minoan, Mycenaean and Clasical Greek art, vases, statues and sculptures, and frescoes that once adorned the walls of Akrotiri in Santorini.  Highlights were the mask of Agamemnon, the bronze statute of Poseidon, the Youth from Marathon and the sculpture of the bronze Jockey and horse of Artemisium.

In the evening, the group was invited to a reception at the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Athens hosted by the Chief Public Prosecutor of the Court of Appeals, D.A. Lambros Karabelas, and the Chief Public Prosecutor of First Instance, D.A. George Koliokostas.  The following members of the office were also in attendance: Lambros Kozombelas, Vasiles Morkis, Cristos Mokoyannokis, Harolombos Moysidis, Spizos Mouzqkitis, Panayotis Bzokoumatsos, Achileos Zisis, Eleni Skepoznio and Vangelis Kossolios.

Prosecutors are elected by the courts after they finish a special school of justice.  They have the same rights and same promotions as judges, but are independent from the judiciary.  Prosecutors search for the truth and do not just try to convict the accused.  They think as if they are an objective judge and decide if the case needs to be tried.  If the case needs to be tried, they present the facts to the court and call witnesses.  The defense has to ask the prosecutor to call witnesses they want.  Prosecutors work as lawyers for two years, then attend a school for judges for two years and then are appointed as prosecutors.

The Academy members presented D.A. Karabelas and D.A. Koliokostas with paperweights to commemorate their visit.

SATURDAY:  Academy members enjoyed a full day of sightseeing outside of Athens, touring the ancient archaeological site of Corinth and the Corinth Canal.  The Canal was built towards the end of the last century, it measures 75 feet wide and 26 feet deep and joins the Aegean and Ionien Seas.  The group then toured the ancient city of Mycenae, viewing the Lion’s Gate and ancient royal Beehive Tomb, sometimes known as the Treasury of Atreus or Tomb of Agamemnon, the Greek monarch and commander during the Trojan War.  The tombs contained gold funerary masks, gold vases and jewelry, and many items now exhibited in the National Archaeological Museum.  The Mycenean civilization spread throughout Greece and by 1400 B.C. controlled the mainland and the Aegean, including Crete.

Lunch was in Nauplia at the Hotel Xenia overlooking the Argolic Gulf.  The members were then taken to Epidaurus, a famous spa in the 4th Century B.C.  Its theater, built by Polykleitos, is one of the best preserved in Greece.  It contains 14,000 seats and was built with mathematical precision and is remarkable for its near perfect acoustics demonstrated for the group by Mina.  Dinner was held at the hotel in the Parliament Restaurant, after a cocktail party hosted by the Kolts.

SUNDAY:  The group left in the morning for a full day excursion to Thivae, Livadhia and Arachova the archaeological site and museum in Delphi.  Set on a mountain terrace of Mt. Parnassos, the ancient Greeks believed Delphi to be the center of the earth.  For over a thousand years, the famous Oracle of Delphi grew rich determining the fate of kings and empires.  Academy members walked along the Sacred Way to the Temple of Apollo where the Pythian priestess foretold the destiny of men.  The museum holds the famous Charioteer, surviving from the 5th century B.C.  Lunch was held at the Delphi Sun Flowers Restaurant with a view over Olive Tree Valley.  In the evening, the group attended a performance of the Sound and Light Show at Phyx Hill facing the Acropolis, a recreation of the magnificence of the Parthenon through legends of past battles and stories of the history of Athens and Socrates, Pericles and Aristides.  Dinner was held at Kalokerinos Tavern in the Plaka, and members enjoyed the local entertainment, a Greek belly dancer, and Greek folk dancers, who were joined by some of our own ladies and Judges.  

MONDAY:  Upon departure from Athens, the members toured the Acropolis.  Commissioned by Pericles and built by Pheidias, the perfectly proportioned Parthenon crowns the Acropolis.  Members walked to the “upper city” entrance through Propylaea, which extends 150 feet across the entire western front of the Acropolis.  Adjoining the entrance is the temple of Athena; the Acropolis overlooks the Plaka and the ancient Agora where Socrates taught.  Lunch was in Mikrolimano, a charming port town, at the Kranae Restaurant, a quay-side taverna.

In the afternoon, the group continued to the port of Pireaus and embarked upon a five-night Greek Isle cruise aboard the luxury ship Marco Polo of the Orient Lines.  

TUESDAY:  The morning port of call was Delos, which is a tiny, uninhabited island just a few miles west of Mykonos.  Delos was once the principal religious, cultural and commercial center of the Eastern Mediterranean, and now contains spectacular 7th century B.C. ruins, including ancient temples dedicated to Apollo and various houses with mosaic floors.  A few of the group climbed the 368 feet to the summit of Mt. Kynthos to see the view of the Aegean.

In the afternoon, the port of call was the island of Mykonos, one of the most popular resort islands, famous for its windmills.  Mykonos was a place where pirates met and mingled, and the entire town is a maze of narrow winding streets designed to foil attacking pirates (and easily managed to foil a few members who had to ask directions back to the dock!).

WEDNESDAY:  In the morning the port of call was the island of Santorini, a Minoan civilization established as early as 3000 B.C.  Most of the members visited the town of Thera, where whitewashed homes are on the edge of the steep cliffs looking over the Aegean.  Cable cars (or donkeys) transport visitors to the top.

1998 Business Meeting 

The annual business meeting was held at 1:30 p.m. in the Ship’s Library aboard the Marco Polo.  All members were in attendance.

Motion by Judge Goertzen, second by Judge Stanton, to approve the minutes of the 1997 meeting at the Motswari Game Preserve in Kruger National Park in South Africa as written.

Motion by Judge Goertzen, second by Judge Stanton, to approve the treasurer’s report submitted by Judge Fields. The balance on hand when the books were passed on 12/22/97 was $1,631.95.  Income from dues and scholarship donations was $6,436.95, expenses were $2,677.41, leaving a balance on hand of $3,759.54 as of 9/15/98.  The delinquent dues report was presented.  One member, Gordon W. Shumaker from Minnesota, had not paid dues for 1997 and 1998.  Motion by Judge Stanton, second by Judge Goertzen  to drop Judge Shumaker for non-payment of dues, passed. Motion to approve the pending nomination of Judge Victor T. Barrera, Los Angeles Superior Court, by Judge Foster, second by Judge Goertzen, passed.

The scholarship donation was discussed.  Motion by Judge  Goertzen, second by Judge  Choate, that a donation not be made in 1998 and the monies ($630) be allowed to accumulate to be used at a later time as necessary; passed.

Judge Keene, chair of the nominating committee, noted that in 1997 a president-elect had not been elected as all members on the trip had already served as a president of the Academy.  Therefore, it is necessary to elect a president for 1998 and 1999.  Judge Vernon Foster is nominated for President in 1999 by Judge Keene, second by Judge Choate, unanimously elected.  In that all the remaining members present have been president of the Academy before, it was the consensus of the members that Judge Otis H. Godfrey remain president-elect for 2000.  Motion by Judge Byrne that the position of Secretary-Treasurer will be assumed by Judge Keene indefinitely and Diane Bowen will be authorized to maintain the books, and that Judge James G. Kolts is nominated for Chancellor; second by Judge Keene, passed.  

The 1999 annual meeting was discussed.  It was the consensus of the members that Judge Foster select whatever destination he chooses.  An Alaskan cruise was suggested and trip participation was discussed.  NOTE:  Judge Foster is finalizing plans to visit Costa Rica on a 14-night tour, including an overnight trip to a jungle lodge in the Tortuguero Rain Forest.  The trip is scheduled for October 30, 1999 through November 13, 1999 to take advantage of pleasant weather.  The cost is projected at approximately $3,500 per person, including air fare.  A trip proposal is being prepared and will be sent to members shortly, please watch your mail.

At 3:00 p.m. the meeting was concluded.  The matter of Honorary Members was tabled until after the meetings scheduled in Turkey.

The afternoon port of call was Heraklion, Crete.  Some members took a tour to the Palace of Knossos, the home of the legendary King Minos, and some members visited a typical Cretan village, Arolithos, and enjoyed visiting the shops and a colorful folklore performance.  Crete is famous for its beautiful native dancing and costumes.

THURSDAY:  The Marco Polo’s port of call for the entire day was Rhodes, Greece.  One of the most popular excursions was to the Acropolis of Lindos perched on a bluff overlooking a village of whitewashed cubicles and narrow, curving streets.  The Acropolis commands a spectacular view of the sea below.  The medieval castle includes the remains of the Governor’s quarter and the Byzantine chapel of St. John.  The Temple of Athena is 4th Century B.C. ruins of elaborate porticoes and stoas.  The main portico once had 42 Doric columns.  Other members enjoyed walking and shopping in historic Old Town Rhodes and some members visited the Grand Masters Palace, constructed as a replica of the Papal Palace of Avignon.  The facade of the palace has been restored and the atmosphere of the Middle Ages has been preserved.  The tour of the Palace included a walk along cobblestone streets to the Street of the Knights, a unique example of medieval architecture.

In the evening members attended the Captain’s Cocktail Party.  Judges Keene, Goertzen, and Kolts were invited to dine at the Captain’s Table.

FRIDAY:  The port of call in the morning was Kusadasi, Turkey.  The group enjoyed a private excursion to Ancient Ephesus, one of the most prosperous Greek cities of ancient times and now one of the most splendid restored sites of antiquity in the Mediterranean. The walking tour was along marble streets lined by temples and fountains, a library, theater and brothel.  Ephesus had a population of around 300,000, and was first settled by the Lydians and Carians.  The Ionians arrived in 10th Century B.C. and in 550 B.C., Croesus, King of Lydia conquered Ephesus and forced the Ephesians to relocate.  

SATURDAY:  In the morning, the group regretfully disembarked and transferred to the Ceylan Inter-Continental for a four-night stay in Istanbul, Turkey.   The group was met by the local guide, Levent, who was the escort in Turkey.  In the afternoon, the members visited the Mosque of Sultan Ahmet, known as the Blue Mosque because of its blue-green Iznik tiles used for its interior decoration.  There are over 21,000 tiles inside, most of them are painted in the Ottoman style.  It is a very distinctive landmark with mini-domes surrounded by six minarets.  

Next the group visited the Aya Sofya Museum, formerly the Church of Hagia Sophia.  It was first erected in the year 325 by Constantine, but was devasted by fire in the year 404.  It was rebuilt many times, but in the year 563, Justinian dedicated the church once again.  In 1934 Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, had Hagia Sophia converted into a museum.  Today, the museum is the most important Byzantine monument in Istanbul, famous for its immense dome and magnificent frescoes and mosaics.  

The next stop was the Dolmabahce Palace on the European shore of the Bosphorus, the final home of the Ottoman Sultans.  Abdul Mecit had the palace built in the style of Versailles.  Its 285 rooms include the largest throne room in Europe with a dome soaring 117 feet above the floor.  The Bohemian chandelier suspended from the dome weighs four and a half tons.

SUNDAY:  In the morning, Academy members departed on what proved to be the only rainy day of the trip for sightseeing. The group’s first visit was to the Kariye Museum, formerly the Greek Orthodox Church of St. Savior in Chora, renowned for its Byzantine mosaics.  The next point of interest was the Suleymaniye Mosque, considered to be the Ottoman rival of Byzantine’s St. Spohia and famous for its acoustics.  The final stop was a visit to Topkapi Palace and Harem, the imperial residence of the Ottoman Sultans for almost 400 years.  It occupies 700,000 square meters and is a complex of courts, pavillions, mosques and fountains.  It houses a collection of Chinese and Japanese porcelain and the treasury section displaying the priceless and exquisite pieces of jewelry belonging to the sultans, including the Topkapi dagger and the Spoonmaker’s Diamond, and displays of the Sultan’s gold thrones and the armory.  The Harem is made up of 400 rooms and contained the quarters of the Sultan, his wives and concubines.  

Lunch was on the terrace of the Palace in the Konyali Restaurant.  In the evening the group had dinner at the Sandal Restaurant in the waterfront Kumkapi district.

MONDAY:  In the morning the group visited the office of Judge Şefik Şengül, President (Başkani) of the Judicial Commission (Adli Yargi Adalet Komisyonu).

Judge Şengül is also the President of the Civil and Commercial Court, which is the largest trial court in Istanbul, and tries civil and criminal cases.  There are three levels of a criminal court, the most serious crimes (murder, intrigue) being tried in the third level court before a panel of three judges.  In the lower levels (assault, theft) cases are tried before one judge.  In the Commercial and Civil Courts all trials are conducted before three judges; there are no jury trials.  There are separate courts for children under the age of 15.  Judges in these courts are required to be married and have children.  The punishment for murder is execution, however, no one has been executed in Turkey for over 20 years.  When an execution decision is reached it is referred to Parliament and 350 members have to sign to execute.  The appeal goes to the Supreme Court before a panel of five judges and three judges have to agree with the decision to finalize it.  The President of Turkey cannot change any decision, but may “forgive,” but that is very unusual.  There are not too many serious crimes committed in Turkey, however, “first instance” crimes are on the rise, such as checks, theft  and economic problems.  Turkey has a reputation for being a very safe place.  Judge Şengül believes strong family ties contribute to the low crime rate, families live close to each other and they have strong traditions.  “If someone would get in trouble it would bring shame to the family, the family would have to move somewhere else.”  The social pressure is strong, religion is important, “maybe not going five times a day to the Mosque,” but most feel crime is a sin, and would be shamed.

The Ministry of Justice appoints judges and specifies in what court they will work in. Fifteen percent of the judiciary is female.   Judges and public prosecutors have mandatory retirement when they complete the age of sixty-five.  The decisions of all courts are made in writing with a statement of justification.  “It is the duty of the judiciary to conclude trials as quickly as possible at the minimum cost.”  

The Court of the Security of the State hears cases involving crimes committed against the government, such as terrorism, and crimes against the democracy.  “Before 1985 there were many trials in this court because at that time Turkey was ruled by the communist party as the U.S.S.R. was in charge and the people were always against the government.”  Now, most people are fundamentalist because they did not want democracy.  

Other courts in Turkey are the Court of Appeals which examines decisions of the trial courts, and the High Court of Appeals which examines appeals against the verdicts of the Court of the Security of the State.  “In the event of declaration of martial law within the regions under the jurisdiction of a Court of the Security of the State, the latter may be transformed ... into a Martial Law Military Tribunal with jurisdiction restricted to these regions.”

Constitutional Courts examine the constitutionality of laws, decrees having force of law, and the Rules of Procedure of the Turkish Grand National Assembly.  The Constitutional Court is composed of 11 regular and 4 substitute members appointed by the President of the Republic from nominations from “plenary assemblies” of each court and shall retire upon reaching the age of 65 years.  Decisions are reached by “absolute” majority.  Decisions of annulment of Constitutional Amendments are by two-thirds majority.  

The Constitutional Court also acts in the capacity of a Supreme Court.  “If a court which is trying a case finds that the law or the decree having force of law to be applied is unconstitutional, . . . it shall postpone the consideration of the case until the Constitutional Court decides on this issue.  If the court is not convinced of the seriousness of the claim of unconstitutionality, such a claim together with the main judgement shall be decided upon by the competent . . . appeal [court].  The Constitutional Court shall decide on the matter and make public its judgement within five months of receiving the contention.  If no decision is reached within this period, the trial court shall conclude the case under existing legal provisions.  However, if the decision on the merits of the case becomes final, the trial court is obliged to comply with it.  No allegation of unconstitutionality shall be made with regard to the same legal provision until ten years elapse after the publication . . . of the decision . . . dismissing the application on its merits.”   “Decisions of the Constitutional Court . . . shall be binding on the legislative, executive, and judicial organs . . .” 

“The High Court of Appeals is the last instance for reviewing decisions and judgements given by courts of justice” not referred to the Constitutional Court.  “It shall also be the first and last instance for dealing with specific cases prescribed by law.” 

The Preamble of the Constitution of Turkey states: “Following the operation carried out on 12 September 1980 by the Turkish Armed Forces in response to a call from the Turkish Nation . . . at a time when the approach of a separatist, destructive and bloody civil war unprecedented in the Republican era threatened the integrity of the eternal Turkish Nation and motherland and the existence of the sacred Turkish State. . .  This Constitution was prepared . . . [and] shall come into force on the proclamation of the results of the first general elections . . . [and] the Turkish Grand National Assembly assumes its functions, . . . 29 June 1981.”

The Academy members thanked Judge Şengül for his time and presented him with an Academy paperweight to commemorate their visit.  Judge Şengül in turn brought out perfumed water which was poured over each member’s hands, and then gave each member a piece of chocolate.  The local guide Levent, who interpreted Judge Şengül’s comments, explained that all visitors are welcomed in this traditional Turkish manner.  The group was then taken into several courtrooms to observe proceedings which were conducted in Turkish.  

At the conclusion of the visit Judge Keene made the motion that Justice Stefanos Matthias and Justice Michael Decleris from the Greek Supreme Court, and Judge Şengül from the Istanbul Commercial Court be made Honorary Members of the Academy; second by Judge Byrne; passed.

Following the judicial visits, the group had lunch at Zindan Han Restaurant and then toured the Grand Bazaar, one of the most famous sites in Istanbul, containing more than 3,000 shops specializing in jewelry, carpets, metalware and leather goods.  The group had a free evening and some members enjoyed the Turkish bath and massage.

TUESDAY:  The morning was free for members to enjoy Istanbul on their own.  Some members spent the warm, sunny morning at the hotel’s pool and then took advantage of the Turkish bath.

Apropos of the meeting with Judge Şengül, there was an interview in the Turkish Daily News, Turkey’s First and Only English Daily, with President Süleyman Demirel who spoke about the state of the republic: “The reactions and the sensitivities of society, in other words, public opinion, is the most significant concept that makes governments function.  The most important issue here is the equal distribution of justice.  If the courts cannot finalize cases expeditiously with a just verdict or if there are some certain irregularities in the enforcement of law, the people will loose [sic] confidence in justice.  The worst thing that could happen to a society is to loose [sic] confidence in the legal system.  People will then be inclined to seek their own justice and consequently, be diverted from the concepts of contemporary and civil community.  Having an established judicial system in a country is more important than the type of political system the government is run by.  One must always bear this in mind: Having a free judicial system is contingent upon maintaining democracy in the country.  If there are people that take bribes, then somebody must be giving it and they both are equally guilty.  If claims like ‘the government mechanism does not work and the bureaucratic obstacles slow things down, so I have to cut corners by giving bribes’ become acceptable excuses for people, than [sic] it is a dirty society.  If society is made up of law abiding, honest and brave people with good morals, than [sic] it will be much easier to develop that into a clean society. . . It is because of the internal and external peace that we are celebrating the 75th anniversary of our republic.  We must thoroughly comprehend the secularism and the supremacy of the concept of law in order not to harm the legal system.”

In the afternoon, the group departed for a pre-dinner cocktail cruise on the historic Bosphorus followed by a Farewell Dinner at the Beykoz Hasir Restaurant.  The group enjoyed the private cruise north toward the Black Sea, passing palaces, mansions, mosques, fortresses and other monuments to Istanbul’s Ottoman past.  The historic houses built by the Ottoman sultans along the Bosphorus are known as yalis.  These elaborate domains were generally designed as two houses or as a single structure divided in two; one for the men and one for the harem and eunuchs.  They were lavished with elaborate columns, gleaming marble and intricate marquetry, and in the harems, splashing fountains were not only a decorative motif, but served to thwart eavesdroppers.  

At the Farewell Dinner, Judge Kolts and Dorothy were presented with a Greek sculpture of columns as a memento and to thank them for all their work hosting the trip. 

WEDNESDAY: Some members departed for the United States and some members continued on to the trip extension to Turkey’s Turquoise Coast and stayed at the Talya Hotel in Antalya, Turkey.

Written By  Diane Z. Bowen, Executive Secretary

James G. Kolts, President

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