Danilo Türk

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Danilo Türk
Danilo Türk 2011.jpg
President of Slovenia
In office
23 December 2007 – 22 December 2012
Prime Minister Janez Janša
Borut Pahor
Janez Janša
Preceded by Janez Drnovšek
Succeeded by Borut Pahor
Personal details
Born (1952-02-19) 19 February 1952 (age 63)
Maribor, Yugoslavia
(now Slovenia)
Political party Independent
Spouse(s) Barbara Miklič
Children 1
Alma mater University of Ljubljana
University of Belgrade
Website Official website

Danilo Türk (pronounced [daˈníːlɔ ˈtýrk]; born 19 February 1952) served as the President of Slovenia between December 2007 and December 2012. He is also a lawyer and diplomat. As of 2014, he is a visiting professor of law at Columbia University in New York City.

Early life[edit]

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. After graduation he served as the secretary of the commission for minority and expatriate affairs at the Socialist alliance of working people (SZDL), a mass organisation sponsored by Yugoslav communist party. In December 1979 he became the chairman of that commission and was later promoted to become a member of the executive committee of SZDL. 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 cowrote the human rights chapter in 1991's Slovenian Constitution.

Diplomatic and academic career[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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]

2012 election[edit]

He ran for re-election in 2012, but lost the election to Borut Pahor in a second round of voting, held on 2 December 2012; he received roughly one-third of the votes.[5]

Honors and awards[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Danilo Türk is married to Barbara Türk née Miklič. They have a daughter. He is the brother of the manager Vitoslav Türk, member of the Slovenian Democratic Party.[10][11]


External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Janez Drnovšek
President of Slovenia
Succeeded by
Borut Pahor