Danilo Türk

Danilo Türk is the President of Slovenia.

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Danilo Türk (pronounced [tyrk]; born 19 February 1952) is the President of Slovenia. He is also a lawyer and diplomat.

Early life

Türk was born in a lower-middle-class family in Maribor, Slovenia (then part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia). His father died when he was a child. He attended the prestigious II. Gymnasium High school in Maribor. In 1971 he enrolled to the University of Ljubljana where he studied law. He obtained an MA with a thesis on minority rights from the University of Belgrade's Law School. In 1978, he became a teaching assistant at the Faculty of Law in Ljubljana. In 1982, he obtained his PhD with a thesis on the principle of non-intervention in international law. In 1983, he became the director of the Institute for International Law of the University of Ljubljana. In the following years, he worked on minority rights. In the mid 1980s, he collaborated with Amnesty International to report on human rights issues in Yugoslavia.

Between 1986 and 1992, he served as the UN Special Rapporteur on the Realization of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. In 1990, he returned to Slovenia as member of the Constitutional Commission of the Slovenian National Assembly led by France Bučar and Peter Jambrek. He co-authored the chapter of human rights in the 19XX Slovenian Constitution.

Diplomatic and academic career

From 1992 to 2000, Türk was first the Slovenian Permanent Representative to the United Nations. During this time, he was president of the United Nations Security Council in August 1998 and November 1999.[1] Between 1997 and 1998, he was a member of the UN Human Rights Committee. From 2000 to 2005, he served as UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs. In 2005 he returned to Slovenia, becoming professor of international law and vice dean of student affairs at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ljubljana.

Election to president

Danilo Türk and his wife Barbara with Harald V and Sonja of Norway in 2011

In June 2007 he accepted to run in the 2007 Slovenian presidential election. As an independent candidate, he was backed by a broad coalition of left wing parties, composed by the opposition Zares and Social Democrats, the Democratic Party of Pensioners of Slovenia, as well as by the extra-parliamentary Christian Socialist and Democratic Party. In the first round of the presidential elections, held on 21 October 2007, he placed second with 24.54% of the votes, which brought him into the run-off against the centre right candidate Lojze Peterle who received 28.50% of the popular vote. He won the run-off on 11 November 2007 by a landslide, with 68.2% of the votes,[2] becoming the third president of Slovenia on December 23, 2007.

Health issues

In March 2011, Danilo Türk successfully underwent robot-assisted prostate cancer surgery at the Urology Institute in Innsbruck, Austria. The media questioned his decision to have the operation performed abroad, as it could be also done at the General Hospital Celje in Slovenia.[3] Andrej Kmetec, the head of the Department of Urology at the University Medical Centre Ljubljana, explained that he had advised Türk to choose the Innsbruck centre because they had much more experience than Celje in performing such operations.[4]

Honors and awards

  • Albania: Received a copy of the key of the city of Tirana on the occasion of his state visit to Albania.[5]
  • Monaco : Grand Cross of the Order of Saint-Charles (11 January 2011) [6]
  • United Kingdom: Received the Order of the Bath by Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to Slovenia in 2008.[7]

Personal life

Danilo Türk is married with Barbara Türk née Miklič. They have a daughter. He is the brother of the manager Vitoslav Türk, member of the Slovenian Democratic Party.[8][9]