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May 18 2020

LANDCOM LEGAL EXPERT VIRTUALLY TEACHES LOCAL TURKISH UNIVERSITY STUDENTS NATO, MILITARY LAW

IZMIR, Turkey – NATO Allied Land Command’s Turkish legal advisor lectured a group of Turkish university students May 11, 2020 on NATO and military law during an informal partnership engagement with a local university. Through a video teleconference class that lasted almost 90 minutes, Tahir Yüksekkaya familiarized students at Adnan Menderes University on the overall NATO structure and gave a broad overview of the International Law of Armed Conflict.

 Dr. Elvan Çokişler (left) of Adnan Menderes University's International Relations department, and Tahir Yüksekkaya, LANDCOM's Turkish attorney, say hello just before the start of an overview of NATO and Law of Armed Conflict for Dr. Çokişler's students. 

The invitation first came from Dr. Elvan Çokişler from the University’s Department of International Relations. When the Aydin-based institution of higher learning transitioned to distance education in March as part of a package of coronavirus mitigation measures implemented by the Turkish government, the university professor began looking for ways to liven up her online international relations classes. She contacted LANDCOM by email in April to team up on a teaching opportunity.

As you know, universities have started distant education. It would be more enjoyable for students to learn the law of armed conflict from NATO staff,

Dr. Çokişler wrote. "The only drawback is, the lesson has to be in Turkish," she explained. 

Luckily, Mr. Yüksekkaya, recently hired as part of the LANDCOM legal team, fit her criteria. The retired Turkish army officer readily accepted the opportunity to represent the command.

“It was a request made to NATO, not me personally, [but] there seemed no one else who [could] accept other than me,” said Mr. Yüksekkaya, who went on to explain, as the only Turkish-speaking LANDCOM lawyer, he felt it was his job to represent LANDCOM legal.

Despite some initial internet-related technical difficulties, the students stayed interested even as the lecture ran nearly twice as long as scheduled. “Mr. Yüksekkaya's participation was really useful for students and me,” said Dr. Çokişler. “The participation of Mr.Yüksekkaya, as a ex-soldier and NATO personnel, was definitely very useful in this sense.”

During the course of the lecture, Mr. Yüksekkaya also talked about internship opportunities at LANDCOM headquarters. “The students were most happy to have knowledge about internships and job opportunities at NATO. We, including myself, did not know about such opportunities,” said Dr. Çokişler.

During the course of the lecture, Mr. Yüksekkaya also talked about internship opportunities at LANDCOM headquarters. “The students were most happy to have knowledge about internships and job opportunities at NATO. We, including myself, did not know about such opportunities,” said Dr. Çokişler.

Mr. Yüksekkaya said it was a learning experience and ultimately saw this first opportunity as a foray into a broader relationship with the University in the future.

“No matter how much you believe you know one subject a lot, when you [research it] deep, you learn new things. This was the case for me when I prepared my slides for the NATO and LOAC briefs,” he said.

“I believe it is good for both sides to develop links between each other,” he said. “The professor is very keen to continue these relations in future and wants to either have her students visit our headquarters, or some of our representatives to visit them.”

Story by Public Affairs Office at LANDCOM

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