CONSTITUTION OF TURKEY
In conformity with the conditions set forth in the law, citizens have the right to vote, to be elected, and to engage in political activities independently or in a political party, and to take part in a referendum.
Elections and referenda shall be held under the direction and supervision of the judiciary, in accordance with the principles of free, equal, secret, and direct, universal suffrage, and public counting of the votes. However, the conditions under which the Turkish citizens who are abroad shall be able to exercise their right to vote, are regulated by law.
All Turkish citizens over 18 years of age shall have the right to vote in elections and to take part in referenda.
The exercise of these rights shall be regulated by law.
Privates and corporals serving in the armed services, students in military schools, and convicts in penal execution excluding those convicted of negligent offences cannot vote. The Supreme Election Council shall determine the measures to be taken to ensure the safety of the counting of votes when detainees in penal institutions or prisons vote; such voting is done under the on-site direction and supervision of authorized judge. The electoral laws shall be drawn up in such a way as to reconcile the principles of fair representation and consistency in administration.
The amendments made in the electoral laws shall not be applied to the elections to be held within the year from when the amendments go into force.
Citizens have the right to form political parties and in accordance with the established procedure to join and withdraw from them. One must be over 18 years of age to become a member of a party.
Political parties are indispensable elements of democratic political life.
Political parties can be formed without prior permission and shall pursue their activities in accordance with the provisions set forth in the Constitution and law.
The statutes and programmes, as well as the activities of political parties shall not be in conflict with the independence of the state, its indivisible integrity with its territory and nation, human rights, the principles of equality and rule of law, sovereignty of the nation, the principles of the democratic and secular republic; they shall not aim to protect or establish class or group dictatorship or dictatorship of any kind, nor shall they incite citizens to crime.
Judges and prosecutors, members of higher judicial organs including those of the Court of Accounts, civil servants in public institutions and organizations, other public servants who are not considered to be labourers by virtue of the services they perform, members of the armed forces and students who are not yet in higher education institutions, shall not become members of political parties.
The membership of the teaching staff at higher education institutions in political parties is regulated by law. This law cannot allow those members to assume responsibilities outside the central organs of the political parties. It also sets forth the regulations which the teaching staff at higher education institutions shall observe as members of political parties.
The principles concerning the membership of students at higher education institutions to political parties are regulated by law.
The state shall provide the political parties with adequate financial means in an equitable manner. The financial assistance to be extended to political parties, as well as procedures related to collection of membership dues and donations are regulated by law.
B. Principles to be Observed by Political Parties
The activities, internal regulations and operation of political parties shall be in line with democratic principles. The application of these principles is regulated by law.
Political parties shall not engage in commercial activities.
The income and expenditure of political parties shall be consistent with their objectives. The application of this rule is regulated by law. The auditing of the income, expenditure and acquisitions of political parties as well as the establishment of the conformity to law of their revenue and expenses, methods of auditing and sanctions to be applied in the event of unconformity shall also be regulated by law. The Constitutional Court shall be assisted in performing its task of auditing by the Court of Accounts. The judgments rendered by the Constitutional Court as a result of the auditing shall be final.
The dissolution of political parties shall be decided finally by the Constitutional Court after the filing of a suit by the office of the Chief Public Prosecutor of the Republic.
The permanent dissolution of a political party shall be decided when it is established that the statute and programme of the political party violate the provisions of the fourth paragraph of Article 68.
A political party shall be deemed to become the centre of such actions only when such actions are carried out intensively by the members of that party or the situation is shared implicitly or explicitly by the grand congress, general chairmanship or the central decision-making or administrative organs of that party or by the group’s general meeting or group executive board at the Turkish Grand National Assembly or when these activities are carried out in determination by the above-mentioned party organs directly.
Instead of dissolving them permanently in accordance with the above-mentioned paragraphs, the Constitutional Court may rule the concerned party to be deprived of State aid wholly or in part with respect to intensity of the actions brought before the court.
The foundation and activities of political parties, their supervision and dissolution, or their deprival of State aid wholly or in part as well as the election expenditures and procedures of the political parties and candidates, are regulated by law in accordance with the above-mentioned principles.
The Turkish Grand National Assembly shall be composed of five hundred and fifty deputies elected by universal suffrage.
B. Eligibility to be a Deputy
Every Turk over the age of 30 is eligible to be a deputy.
Persons who have not completed their primary education, who have been deprived of legal capacity, who have failed to perform compulsory military service, who are banned from public service, who have been sentenced to a prison term totalling one year or more excluding involuntary offences, or to a heavy imprisonment; those who have been convicted for dishonourable offences such as embezzlement, corruption, bribery, theft, fraud, forgery, breach of trust, fraudulent bankruptcy; and persons convicted of smuggling, conspiracy in official bidding or purchasing, of offences related to the disclosure of state secrets, of involvement in acts of terrorism, or incitement and encouragement of such activities, shall not be elected deputies, even if they have been pardoned.
Judges and prosecutors, members of the higher judicial organs, members of the teaching staff at institutions of higher education, members of the Higher Education Council, employees of public institutions and agencies who have the status of civil servants, other public employees not regarded as labourers on account of the duties they perform, and members of the Armed Forces shall not stand for election or be eligible to be a deputy unless they resign from office.
C. Election Term of the Turkish Grand National Assembly
The Assembly may decide to hold a new election before the termination of this period, and new elections may also be decided upon according to a decision, taken in accordance with the conditions set forth in the Constitution, by the President of the Republic. A deputy whose term of office expires may be eligible for re-election.
In the event of a decision to hold new elections, the powers of the Assembly shall continue until the election of a new Assembly.
D. Deferment of Elections to the Turkish Grand National Assembly, and By-elections
If the holding of new elections is found impossible because of war, the Turkish Grand National Assembly may decide to defer elections for a year.
If the grounds for deferment do not disappear this measure may be repeated under the procedure for deferment.
By-elections shall be held when vacancies arise in the membership of the Turkish Grand National Assembly. By-elections shall be held once in every election term and cannot be held until 30 months have elapsed from the date of the previous general elections. However, in cases where the number of vacant seats reaches five percent of the total number of seats, by- elections shall be held within three months.
By-elections shall not be held within one year before general elections.
Apart from the above-specified situations, if a city or district lacks representation in Parliament, a by-election shall be held on the first Sunday, 90 days following creation of the vacancy. In elections held per this paragraph, paragraph 3 of Article 127 of the Constitution shall not apply.
E. General Administration and Supervision of Elections
The Supreme Election Council shall execute all the functions to ensure the fair and orderly conduct of the elections from the beginning to the end of polling, carry out investigations and take final decisions on all irregularities, complaints and objections concerning the elections during and after the polling, and verify the election returns of the members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly. No appeal shall be made to any authority against the decisions of the Supreme Election Council.
The functions and powers of the Supreme Election Council and other election councils shall be determined by law.
The Supreme Election Council shall be composed of seven regular members and four substitutes. Six of the members shall be elected by the Plenary Assembly of the High Court of Appeals, and five members shall be elected by the Plenary Assembly of the Council of State from amongst its own members, by secret ballot and by an absolute majority of the total number of members. These members shall elect a Chairman and a Vice-Chairman from amongst themselves, by absolute majority and secret ballot.
Amongst the members elected to the Supreme Election Council by the High Court of Appeals and by the Council of State, two members from each group shall be designated, by lot, as substitute members. The Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Supreme Election Council shall not take part in this procedure.
The general conduct and supervision of a referendum on legislation amending the Constitution shall be subject to the same provisions as those relating to the election of deputies.
A. Qualifications and Impartiality
ARTICLE 101. The President of the Republic shall be elected for a term of office of seven years by the Turkish Grand National Assembly from among its own members who are over 40 years of age and who have completed their higher education or from among Turkish citizens who fulfil these requirements and are eligible to be deputies.
The nomination of a candidate for the Presidency of the Republic from outside the Turkish Grand National Assembly shall require a written proposal by at least one-fifth of the total number of members of the Assembly.
The President of the Republic cannot be elected for a second time.
The President-elect, if a member of a party, shall sever his relations with his party and his status as a member of the Turkish Grand National Assembly shall cease.
ARTICLE 102. The President of the Republic shall be elected by a two-thirds majority of the total number of members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly and by secret ballot. If the Turkish Grand National Assembly is not in session, it shall be summoned immediately to meet.
The election of the President of the Republic shall begin thirty days before the term of office of the incumbent President of the Republic expires or ten days after the Presidency falls vacant, and shall be completed within thirty days of the beginning of the election. Candidates shall be declared to the Bureau of the Assembly within the first ten days of this period and elections shall be completed within the remaining twenty days.
If a two-thirds majority of the total number of members cannot be obtained in the first two ballots, between which there shall be at least a three-day interval, a third ballot shall be held and the candidate who receives the absolute majority of votes of the total number of members shall be elected President of the Republic. If an absolute majority of votes of the total number of members is not obtained in the third ballot, a fourth ballot will be held between the two candidates who receive the greatest number of votes in the third ballot; if the President of the Republic cannot be elected by an absolute majority of the total number of members in this ballot, new general elections for the Turkish Grand National Assembly shall be held immediately.
The term of office of the incumbent President of the Republic shall continue until the President-elect takes office.
D. Duties and Powers
ARTICLE 104. The President of the Republic is the Head of the state. In this capacity he or she shall represent the Republic of Turkey and the unity of the Turkish Nation; he or she shall ensure the implementation of the Constitution, and the regular and harmonious functioning of the organs of state.
To this end, the duties he or she shall perform, and the powers he or she shall exercise, in accordance with the conditions stipulated in the relevant articles of the Constitution are as follows:
a) Those relating to legislation:
to deliver, if he or she deems it necessary, the opening address of the Turkish Grand National Assembly on the first day of the legislative year,
to summon the Turkish Grand National Assembly to meet, when necessary,
to promulgate laws,
to return laws to the Turkish Grand National Assembly to be reconsidered,
to submit to referendum, if he or she deems it necessary, legislation regarding amendment of the Constitution.
to appeal to the Constitutional Court for the annulment in part or entirety of certain provisions of laws, decrees having the force of law, and the Rules of Procedure of the Turkish Grand National Assembly on the grounds that they are unconstitutional in form or in content,
to call new elections for the Turkish Grand National Assembly.
b) Those relating to executive functions:
to appoint the Prime Minister and to accept his or her resignation,
to appoint and dismiss Ministers on the proposal of the Prime Minister,
to preside over the Council of Ministers or to call the Council of Ministers to meet under his or her chairmanship whenever he or she deems it necessary,
to accredit representatives of the Turkish state to foreign states and to receive the representatives of foreign states appointed to the Republic of Turkey,
to ratify and promulgate international treaties,
to represent the Supreme Military Command of the Turkish Armed Forces on behalf of the Turkish Grand National Assembly,
to decide on the mobilization of the Turkish Armed Forces,
to appoint the Chief of the General Staff,
to call the National Security Council to meet,
to preside over the National Security Council,
to proclaim martial law or state of emergency, and to issue decrees having the force of law, in accordance with the decisions of the Council of Ministers under his or her chairmanship,
to sign decrees,
to remit, on grounds of chronic illness, disability, or old age, all or part of the sentences imposed on certain individuals,
to appoint the members and the chairman of the state Supervisory Council,
to instruct the State Supervisory Council to carry out inquiries, investigations and inspections,
to appoint the members of the Higher Education Council,
to appoint rectors of universities.
c) Those relating to the judiciary:
to appoint the members of the Constitutional Court, one- fourth of the members of the Council of State, the Chief Public Prosecutor and the Deputy Chief Public Prosecutor of the High Court of Appeals, the members of the Military High Court of Appeals, the members of the Supreme Military Administrative Court and the members of the Supreme Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors.
The President of the Republic shall also exercise powers of election and appointment, and perform the other duties conferred on him or her by the Constitution and laws.
F. Provisional Council of Ministers During Elections
Three days before elections begin or in the event of a decision to hold new elections before the end of the election term, within five days of this decision, the Prime Minister shall appoint independent persons from within or outside the Turkish Grand National Assembly to these Ministries.
In the event of a decision to hold new elections under Article 116, the Council of Ministers shall resign and the President of the Republic shall appoint a Prime Minister to form a Provisional Council of Ministers.
The Provisional Council of Ministers shall be composed of members of the political party groups in proportion to their parliamentary membership with the exception of the ministers of Justice, Internal Affairs, and Communications, who shall be independent persons appointed from within or outside the Turkish Grand National Assembly.
The number of members to be taken from political party groups shall be determined by the President of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, and shall be communicated to the Prime Minister. Party members who do not accept the ministerial posts offered to them, or who subsequently, resign shall be replaced by independent persons from within or outside the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.
The Provisional Council of Ministers shall be formed within five days of publication in the Official Gazette of the decision to hold new elections.
The Provisional Council of Ministers shall not be subject to a vote of confidence.
The Provisional Council of Ministers shall remain in office for the duration of the elections, and until the new Assembly convenes.
H. Calling for Elections for the Turkish Grand National Assembly by the President of the Republic.
ARTICLE 116. In cases where the Council of Ministers fails to receive a vote of confidence under Article 110 or is compelled to resign by a vote of no-confidence under Article 99 or 111, and if a new Council of Ministers cannot be formed within forty-five days or the new Council of Ministers fails to receive a vote of confidence, the President of the Republic, in consultation with the President of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, may call for new elections.
If a new Council of Ministers cannot be formed within forty-five days of the resignation of the Prime Minister without being defeated by a vote of confidence or also within forty-five days of elections for the Bureau of the President of the Turkish Grand National Assembly of the newly elected Turkish Grand National Assembly, the President of the Republic may likewise, in consultation with the President of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, call for new elections.
The decision to call for new elections shall be published in the Official Gazette and the election shall be held thereafter.
2. Local Administrations
Local administrative bodies are public corporate entities established to meet the common local needs of the inhabitants of provinces, municipal districts and villages, whose decision-making organs are elected by the electorate as described in law, and whose principles of structure are also determined by law.
The formation, duties and powers of the local administration shall be regulated by law in accordance with the principle of local administration.
The elections for local administrations shall be held every five years in accordance with the principles set forth in Article 67. However, general or by-elections for local administrative bodies or for members thereof, which are to be held within a year before or after the general or by-elections for deputies, shall be held simultaneously with the general or by-elections for deputies. Special administrative arrangements may be introduced by law for larger urban centres.
The procedures dealing with objections to the acquisition by elected organs of local government or their status as an organ, and their loss of such status, shall be resolved by the judiciary. However, as a provisional measure, the Minister of Internal Affairs may remove from office those organs of local administration or their members against whom investigation or prosecution has been initiated on grounds of offences related to their duties, pending judgement.
The central administration has the power of administrative trusteeship over the local governments in the framework of principles and procedures set forth by law with the objective of ensuring the functioning of local services in conformity with the principle of the integral unity of the administration, securing uniform public service, safeguarding the public interest and meeting local needs, in an appropriate manner.
The formation of local administrative bodies into a union with the permission of the Council of Ministers for the purpose of performing specific public services; and the functions, powers, financial and security arrangements of these unions, and their reciprocal ties and relations with the central administration, shall be regulated by law. These administrative bodies shall be allocated financial resources in proportion to their functions.