The politics of Turkey take place in the framework of a constitutional republic and presidential system, with various levels and branches of power.

Politics of Turkey

Türkiye'de siyaset
Polity typeUnitary presidential constitutional republic
ConstitutionConstitution of Turkey
Legislative branch
NameGrand National Assembly
Meeting placeParliament Building
Presiding officerNuman Kurtulmuş, Speaker of the Grand National Assembly
Executive branch
Head of State and Government
CurrentlyRecep Tayyip Erdoğan
AppointerDirect popular vote
NamePresidential Cabinet
Current cabinetCabinet Erdoğan V
Deputy leaderVice President
HeadquartersPresidential Complex
Judicial branch
NameJudicial system
Constitutional Court
Chief judgeZühtü Arslan
Council of State
Chief judgeZeki Yiğit
Court of Cassation
Chief judgeMehmet Akarca
Court of Jurisdictional Disputes
Chief judgeCelal Mümtaz Akıncı

Turkey's political system is based on a separation of powers. Executive power is exercised by the Council of Ministers, which is appointed and headed by the President, who serves as country's head of state and head of government. Legislative power is vested in the Grand National Assembly. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. Its current constitution was adopted on 7 November 1982 after a constitutional referendum.

Major constitutional revisions were passed by the National Assembly on 21 January 2017 and approved by referendum on 16 April 2017. The reforms, among other measures, abolished the position of Prime Minister and designated the President as both head of state and government, effectively transforming Turkey from a parliamentary regime into a presidential one.

Suffrage is universal for citizens 18 years of age and older.

National government edit

Turkey is a presidential representative democracy and a constitutional republic within a pluriform multi-party system, in which the president (the head of state and head of government), parliament, and judiciary share powers reserved to the national government.

The government is divided into three branches, as per the specific terms articulated in part three of the Turkish Constitution:

Legislative power is invested in the 600-seat Grand National Assembly of Turkey (Türkiye Büyük Millet Meclisi), representing 81 provinces. The members are elected for a five-year term by mitigated proportional representation with an election threshold of 7%. To be represented in Parliament, a party must win at least 7% of the national vote in a national parliamentary election. Independent candidates may run, and to be elected, they must only win enough to get one seat.

The freedom and independence of the judicial system is protected within the constitution. There is no organization, person, or institution which can interfere in the running of the courts, and the executive and legislative structures must obey the courts' decisions. The courts, which are independent in discharging their duties, must explain each ruling on the basis of the provisions of the Constitution, the laws, jurisprudence, and their personal convictions.

The Judicial system is highly structured. Turkish courts have no jury system; judges render decisions after establishing the facts in each case based on evidence presented by lawyers and prosecutors. For minor civil complaints and offenses, justices of the peace take the case. This court has a single judge. It has jurisdiction over misdemeanors and petty crimes, with penalties ranging from small fines to brief prison sentences. Three-judge courts of first instance have jurisdiction over major civil suits and serious crimes. Any conviction in a criminal case can be taken to a court of Appeals for judicial review.

Administrative divisions edit

The political system of Turkey is highly centralized. However, as a member state of the Council of Europe, Turkey is under an obligation to implement the European Charter of Local Self-Government. In its 2011 report, the Monitoring Committee of the Council of Europe found fundamental deficits in implementation, in particular administrative tutelage and prohibition of the use of languages other than Turkish in the provision of public services.[4]

Political principles of importance in Turkey edit

After becoming one of the early members of the Council of Europe in 1950, Turkey became an associate member of the EEC in 1963, joined the EU Customs Union in 1995 and started full membership negotiations with the European Union in 2005.[5][6]

The Turkish Constitution is cumulatively built on the following principles:

Most mainstream political parties are alternatively built either on the following principles:

Other political ideas have also influenced Turkish politics and modern history. Of particular importance are:

Countries and regions where a Turkic language has official status

These principles are the continuum around which various – and often rapidly changing – political parties and groups have campaigned (and sometimes fought). On a superficial level, the importance which state officials attach to these principles and their posts can be seen in their response to breaches of protocol in official ceremonies.[8]

Political parties and elections edit

Political parties edit

After World War II, Turkey started operating under a multi-party system.

On the center right to right side of the Turkish political spectrum, these parties have had large majorities:

Some other parties that have had similar politics but never had large majorities are:

Turkish right-wing parties are more likely to embrace principles of political ideologies such as conservatism, nationalism or Islamism.[9]

On the far-right, there have been nationalist parties and Islamist parties:

On the left side of the spectrum, parties like Republican People's Party (CHP), Social Democratic Populist Party (SHP) and Democratic Left Party (DSP) once enjoyed the largest electoral success. Left-wing parties are more likely to embrace principles of socialism, Kemalism or secularism.[10]

Elections edit

A woman casting her vote at the 2015 elections

Elections in Turkey are held for six functions of government: presidential elections (national), parliamentary elections (national), municipality mayors (local), district mayors (local), provincial or municipal council members (local) and muhtars (local).

Apart from elections, referendums are also held occasionally. To put forward a referendum regarding constitutional amendments, a supermajority (three fifths of the votes) in the parliament is required first. These kinds of referendums are binding.

In May 2023, President Erdogan won a new re-election and his AK Party with its allies held parliamentary majority in the general election.[11]

Suffrage edit

Every Turkish citizen who has turned 18 has the right to vote and stand as a candidate at elections. Universal suffrage for both sexes has been applied throughout Turkey since 1934.[12]

According to the Constitution of the Ottoman Empire (1876), the age of candidacy was 30 and the voting age was 25. In the newly established Republic of Turkey, the voting age was reduced to 18 due to the decreasing population, and the age of candidacy was still 30. The voting age was increased to 22 in 1934, decreased to 21 in 1987, and 18 in 1995.

The age of candidacy dropped from 30 to 25 through a constitutional amendment in 2006.[13] Following the 2017 constitutional referendum, it was further lowered to 18.[14]

Financing edit

Political parties can use donations, dues, real estate income and income from party activities to continue their activities. Since 1965, the Treasury also gives money to political parties. According to the law, parties that participated in the last parliamentary elections and that passed the general threshold are paid 0.04% of the general budget revenues each year. Apart from this, the parties that received more than 3 percent of the votes despite being below the threshold are also given public funding in proportion of support. This amount triples in election years.[15]

Political parties can't receive aid or donations in kind or in cash from foreign states, international organizations and entities not of Turkish nationality. The same rule applies for candidates in presidential elections. Anonymous donations to political parties are also not allowed. It should be clearly stated in the receipt given by the party that the donation belong to the donor or the donor's authorized representative or attorney. Donations by political parties cannot be accepted without relying on such a document. Donations from domestic corporations with (partial) government ownership are also not allowed.[16]

According to article 74 of the Political Parties Law, the financial control of political parties is carried out by the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court supervises the compliance of the property acquisitions, income and expenses of political parties with the Law. Presidents of political parties are obliged to submit a certified copy of the final account and the final accounts of the local organizations, including the party headquarters and its affiliated districts, to the Constitutional Court and to the Office of the Chief Public Prosecutor of the Supreme Court for information, until the end of June.[16]

Military involvement in politics edit

Since Mustafa Kemal Atatürk founded the modern secular Republic of Turkey in 1923, the Turkish military has perceived itself as the guardian of Atatürkçülük, the official state ideology. The TAF still maintains an important degree of influence over Turkish politics and the decision-making process regarding issues related to Turkish national security, albeit decreased in the past decades, via the National Security Council.

The military has had a record of intervening in politics. Indeed, it assumed power for several periods in the latter half of the 20th century. It executed coups d'état in 1960, in 1971, and in 1980. In 1997, it maneuvered the removal of an Islamic-oriented prime minister, Necmettin Erbakan.[17] The military continued to effect politics throughout the first two decades of the 21st century, publishing an e-memorandum in 2007, and attempting a coup in 2016.

On 27 April 2007, in advance of 4 November 2007 presidential election, and in reaction to the politics of Abdullah Gül, who has a past record of involvement in Islamist political movements and banned Islamist parties such as the Welfare Party, the army issued a statement of its interests. It said that the army is a party to "arguments" regarding secularism; that Islamism ran counter to the secular nature of the Turkish Republic, and to the legacy of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The Army's statement ended with a clear warning that the Turkish Armed Forces stood ready to intervene if the secular nature of the Turkish Constitution is compromised, stating that "the Turkish Armed Forces maintain their sound determination to carry out their duties stemming from laws to protect the unchangeable characteristics of the Republic of Turkey. Their loyalty to this determination is absolute."[18]

The Turkish populace is not uniformly averse to coups; many welcome the ejection of governments they perceive as unconstitutional.[19][20][better source needed] Members of the military must also comply with the traditions of secularism, according to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom report in 2008, members who performed prayers or had wives who wore the headscarf, have been charged with “lack of discipline”.[21]

Paradoxically, the military has both been an important force in Turkey's continuous Westernization but at the same time also represents an obstacle for Turkey's desire to join the EU. At the same time, the military enjoys a high degree of popular legitimacy, with continuous opinion polls suggesting that the military is the state institution that the Turkish people trust the most.[22][better source needed]

On 15 July 2016, factions within the Turkish Military attempted to overthrow President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, citing growing non-secularism and censorship as motivation for the attempted coup. The coup was blamed on the influence of the vast network led by U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen.[23][24] In the aftermath of the failed coup, major purges have occurred, including that of military officials, police officers, judges, governors and civil servants.[25] There has also been significant media purge in the aftermath of the failed coup.[26] There has been allegations of torture in connection with these purges.[27]

Ombudsman edit

In 2012 the position of ombudsman was created, due to the ratification of the 2010 referendum. The ombudsman is charged with solving, without the need to a recourse before the courts, the disagreements between citizens and the administrations and other entities charged with a mission of a public service proposing reforms to the Government and the administrations to further these goals; and actively participating in the international promotion of human rights. The institution is independent of the government and answers to the Parliament alone. The ombudsman is elected for a period of 4 years by the Parliament.[28]

Foreign relations edit

Throughout the Cold War, Turkey's most important ally has been the United States, which shared Turkey's interest in containing Soviet expansion.[29][30] In support of the United States, Turkey contributed personnel to the UN forces in the Korean War (1950–1953), joined NATO in 1952, recognized Israel in 1948 and has cooperated closely with it.[31]

Turkey's relations with Israel edit

Turkey's alliance with Israel during the Arab–Israeli conflict strained its relations with the Arab world[32] and Iran,[33] and subsequently led to overt Syrian support for Palestinian and Armenian terrorist operations against Turkish diplomats abroad until 1990.[34][35][36]

See also edit

Further reading edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Duties and Powers". The Grand National Assembly of Turkey. Archived from the original on 5 April 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  2. ^ "Duties and Powers". Presidency Of The Republic Of Turkey. Archived from the original on 8 November 2022. Retrieved 11 April 2022.
  3. ^ "Turkish Constitution". Anayasa Mahkemesi. Archived from the original on 3 July 2019. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  4. ^ "Local and regional democracy in Turkey". Council of Europe, Congress of Local and Regional Authorities, Monitoring Committee. 1 March 2011. Archived from the original on 17 May 2016. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  5. ^ "Chronology of Turkey-EU relations". Turkish Secretariat of European Union Affairs. Archived from the original on 15 May 2007. Retrieved 30 October 2006.
  6. ^ "Interview with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on BBC Sunday AM" (PDF). European Commission. 15 October 2006. Archived (PDF) from the original on 21 November 2006. Retrieved 17 December 2006.
  7. ^ Solak, Mustafa (5 February 2018). "Altı Ok Anayasa'ya nasıl eklendi?" [How were the Six Arrows added to the Constitution?]. Aydınlık. Archived from the original on 8 June 2018. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  8. ^ "V-Day brings protocol debates back to agenda". Today's Zaman. 1 September 2008. Archived from the original on 1 September 2008. Retrieved 1 September 2008.
  9. ^ Yılmaz, Hakan. "Conservatism in Turkey" (PDF). European Stability Initiative. Archived (PDF) from the original on 7 March 2022. Retrieved 12 April 2022.
  10. ^ Kate Fleet; Suraiya Faroqhi; Reşat Kasaba (2008). The Cambridge History of Turkey. Cambridge University Press. pp. 357–358. ISBN 978-0-521-62096-3. Archived from the original on 17 January 2023. Retrieved 13 June 2013.
  11. ^ Wilks, Andrew. "Turkey's Erdogan celebrates presidential election run-off win".
  12. ^ "Turkish women celebrate 85th anniversary of suffrage". Hürriyet Daily News. 5 December 2019. Archived from the original on 12 April 2022. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  13. ^ "Milletvekili seçilme yaşı 25'e iniyor". (in Turkish). 6 October 2006. Archived from the original on 18 April 2022. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  14. ^ "'Lowering age of candidacy shows trust in youth'". Daily Sabah. 11 February 2017. Archived from the original on 18 April 2022. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  15. ^ "Siyasi partilere hazine yardımı nasıl belirleniyor?". euronews (in Turkish). 2 November 2021. Archived from the original on 31 January 2022. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  16. ^ a b "Siyasi Partiler Kanunu" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2 December 2012. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  17. ^ "Turkey - The World Factbook". CIA. Archived from the original on 10 January 2021.
  18. ^ "Excerpts of Turkish army statement". BBC News. 28 April 2007. Archived from the original on 15 May 2019. Retrieved 30 June 2008.
  19. ^ Baran, Zeyno (4 December 2006). "The Coming Coup d'Etat?". Newsweek. Archived from the original on 7 October 2008. Retrieved 11 October 2008.
  20. ^ Lt. Col. Patrick F. Gillis (3 May 2004). "U.S.-Turkish Relations: The Road to Improving a Troubled Strategic Partnership" (PDF). U.S. Army War College. p. 4. Archived (PDF) from the original on 15 December 2018. Retrieved 23 March 2010. In all of these 'coups' the majority of the Turkish public accepted the military's actions because they felt they were necessary for the well being of the state and because the military did not seek to impose permanent military governance
  21. ^ Other countries under review: kazakhstan, malaysia, and turkey Archived 9 May 2009 at the Wayback Machine United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. 2008. Retrieved on 2 May 2009.
  22. ^ Ersel Aydinli; Nihat Ali Özcan & Dogan Akyaz (January–February 2006). "The Turkish Military's March Toward Europe". Foreign Affairs. Archived from the original on 6 January 2009. Retrieved 16 December 2008.
  23. ^ Filkins, Dexter (17 October 2016). "Turkey's Thirty-Year Coup". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on 15 July 2017. Retrieved 13 December 2016.
  24. ^ "Turkey's coup attempt: What you need to know". BBC News. 16 July 2016. Archived from the original on 25 November 2022. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  25. ^ Morris, Loveday (19 July 2016). "Turkey suspends more than 15,000 education workers in widening purge". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 22 July 2016. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  26. ^ "Turkey Crackdown Chronicle: Week of July 24 - Committee to Protect Journalists". 25 July 2016. Archived from the original on 4 October 2016. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
  27. ^ "Detainees beaten, tortured and raped after failed Turkey coup, Amnesty says". independent. Archived from the original on 25 November 2022. Retrieved 25 November 2022.
  28. ^ "The Ombudsman Institution of Turkey and its role in ensuring access to justice for the right to housing and property" (PDF). Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. Archived (PDF) from the original on 19 August 2021. Retrieved 18 April 2022.
  29. ^ Migdalovitz, Carol. "Turkey: Ally in a Troubled Region." Library of Congress, Congressional Research Service, 93-835F. Washington: September 14, 1993.
  30. ^ Karasapan, Omer. "Turkey and US Strategy in the Age of Glasnost," Middle East Report, No. 160, September–October 1989, pp. 4–10, 22.
  31. ^ Aybet, Gülnur. Turkey's Foreign Policy and Its Implications for the West: A Turkish Perspective. London: Royal United Services Institute for Defence Studies, 1994.
  32. ^ Fuller, Graham E., Ian O. Lesser, Paul B. Henze, and J.F. Brown. Turkey's New Geopolitics: From the Balkans to Western China. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 1993.
  33. ^ Robins, Philip. Turkey and the Middle East. London: Royal Institute of International Affairs and New York: Council on Foreign Relations Press, 1991.
  34. ^ United States. Department of Defense. Terrorist Group Profiles. Washington: GPO, 1988.
  35. ^ United States. Department of State. Patterns of Global Terrorism, 1992. Washington: 1993.
  36. ^ United States. Department of State. Patterns of Global Terrorism 1993. Washington: 1994.