„Studies on Legal Relations between the Ottoman Empire, the Republic of Turkey and Hungary, Cyprus, and Macedonia”

Selected Essays in Hungarian, English, German, and Turkish

edited by Kinga Hazai

The Hazai Library had the honour to present the work of Prof Gábor Hamza, the eminent jurist and specialist in comparative law history and good friend of the late Professor Hazai. Many Hungarian Turcologists, Ambassadors and Jurists gathered to learn about the author’s latest work.

Professor Hamza entrusted Kinga Hazai in 2014 with his essays, which lay exactly in the point of intersection of her fields of interest: Law and Turcology. Soon she submerged in the editing work and the result speaks for itself.

The Klaus Schwarz Verlag, Berlin took the publication under its wings and presented it at the Fankfurt Book Fair in October. Gerd Winkelhane, owner of the publishing house also attended the event.

The volume can be purchased at the Publishing house’s website.

At the book premier János Hóvári, historian and former Hungarian Ambassador to Ankara, author of the afterword introduced the exceptional work.

“Professor Hamza is an outstanding Professor of the Roman and private law. His name is well-known all around the world. He is a distinguished member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Professor Hamza is a great master of the international comparative law which, in a certain way, is about the divergent development of the Roman law in various countries. He believes that the ancient values are alive in our legal system due to the strong tradition and legacy of the Roman law. But what about Turkey, the Ottoman Empire and the Eastern Mediterranean?

Why are these close to the academic life of Professor Hamza? Certainly not because of the sunshine and the blue sea!

  • The territory of Turkey was in the ancient and early medieval times one of the birthplaces of Roman law and it was practised until the fall of Constantinople in 1453. The early Ottomans were influenced by the Byzantine institutions hence by the Roman Law. Professor Pál Fodor is one of the leading figures – after the death of Professor Halil İnalcık – who say that – there is a certain continuation of the Byzantine Empire in the Ottoman Empire. But, dear Professor Hamza – there is a lot to be done by law historians in terms of carefully studying the coexistence of Roman and Islamic law in the Ottoman Empire. May I recommend it as a topic for your PhD. students from Turkey.
  • The modernization of the Ottoman Empire foresaw the adoption of the European – Roman law based – private and criminal law. It was a long way – as described by Professor Hamza in the presented book – that was completed by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk: he fully replaced the Islamic law with the European – Roman law based systems. He is one of the most important founding fathers of the European- and Western-minded modern Turkey. Professor Hamza pointed out that Turkey, due to the stability of its law system, made a huge progress with the acquis communitaire in the last two decades. Of course, there are political quarrels within the European Union regarding the future of Turkey, but it does not have any impact on the current European minded Turkish law system. The law system is stronger than any political discourse.
  • Professor Hamza is a great admirer of the master of Roman Law – Professor Andreas Bertalan Schwarz who was born in Budapest in 1886 and died in Germany in 1953. He studied in German universities and made himself a good name with his academic work. He had to leave Germany in 1934 and went to Turkey where he stayed until his death in 1953. Here he became the famous Professor of Roman and private law at the Istanbul University. His role was very important because he taught many generations of attorneys, judges and scholars on the philosophy and practise of private law. Dear Professor, many thanks for collecting these documents from all around world related to Professor Schwartz and for keeping up his memory with this excellent paper dedicated to his life in Istanbul. “
    (János Hóvári’s speech)