HABERLER » Changing Turkey: Presidential Decrees

Changing Turkey: Presidential Decrees

After the 2014 Presidential Elections, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said “I won’t be a USUAL President”. Yes he has been an  UNUSUAL one. Separation of powers, judicial independence...
2 Ağustos 2018

After the 2014 Presidential Elections, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said “I won’t be a USUAL President”. Yes he has been an  UNUSUAL one.

Separation of powers, judicial independence and checks and balances were perpetually undermined. Along with the State of Emergency (OHAL), which was declared after the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016, the country was ruled with decrees out of judicial and legislative control. Executive power accumulated on one person was legalized with the Constitutional amendment under OHAL conditions. (April 16, 2017)

OHAL, which was announced for 3 months, was extended 7 times during two years. After the termination of OHAL on July 18, 2018, it became perpetual with so many “permanent” law amendments. The president equipped with broad powers is building the new system with decrees.

The Government delegated its power mentioned below to the President with the decree-law No.  698 on July 4, 2018. (Full text in Turkish; https://goo.gl/k1N5xL )

- Preparing the draft law,

- Preparing the state budget,

- Publishing decree-law,

- Announcing State of Emergency and martial law.

Constitutional Court has the supervisory power on Presidential decrees but President appoints the 12 of 15 members of the court.

Presidential Decrees Published Until Now:

With the Presidential decrees No. 1, 2 and 3: (Full text in Turkish; https://goo.gl/nG3Znk) The principles and procedures for the presidency and ministries were set with the Presidential decrees numbered 1, 2 and 3.

- All of the executive power of the Government in the former system was delegated to the President. President appoints the ministers, ministers are only responsible to the president, the cabinet is no longer a collective decision-making mechanism and it is removed from the scope of the parliamentary control.

- President already had no political and criminal liability except “treason”. (Because of the lack of the definition for “treason” in law, it had no meaning at all) Before, all of the acts of presidents were being signed by the prime minister and the cabinet of ministers. The political power was assuming accountability except the appointments made by the president himself. Now, the “immune” president is authorized to perform any act by himself, and the cabinet assigned by the president is solely accountable to the president.

- The President, who has the sole authority for the appointment of all senior government executives, including independent institutions, has also set out procedures of appointments. All of the high ranking members of judiciary, central bank governor, all of the governors and high ranking military personnel are being appointed by the President. Previously the deputy of the President was the chair of the Parliament. Hereafter deputy will be appointed by the President. Local authority members will be the representatives of the President in the districts and provinces.

With the Presidential decree No. 4: (Full text in Turkish;  https://goo.gl/1kpHoJ) Institutions related or connected to the ministries were re-organized.

- Many institutions which were extinguished before the new system were re-named. “Ministry of EU Affairs,” has turned to “Presidency of European Union Affairs”. Changes were made in dozens of institutions, including the General Directorate of State Theaters, State Hydraulic Works, Atatürk Forest Farm, AFAD, Forensic Medicine.

- The Turkish Radio and Television Association, which was formerly a impartial public entity, became affiliated to the President.

- The Directorate of Privatization Administration, which was formerly affiliated to the Prime Ministry, became affiliated to the Ministry of Finance.

- The Central Bank, which was autonomous before, and Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency became affiliated to the Ministry of Finance.

- The Presidency of General Staff and Service Commands became affiliated to the Ministry of Defense.

- The Social Security Institution is no longer subject to the supervision of SAI.

- The condition indicating that university rectors have to be professors, which was removed few days ago with the governmental decree law No. 703, is reinstated with this decree.

With the Presidential Decree No. 5: (Full text in Turkish;  https://goo.gl/ZJxAjJ ) The powers of the State Supervisory Council (DDK) have been increased. DDK which is affiliated to the Presidency will be authorized to investigate all of the government agencies, public institutions, foundations, associations, employee associations and unions except the judicial bodies. On the other hand, DDK will have the authority to control the NGOs and discharge the executives of the NGOs.

With the Presidential Decrees No. 6, 7 and 8; (Full text in Turkish; https://goo.gl/GRgVMg ) The structure of the National Security Council (MGK) and the Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) was re-organised. The Presidency of Defense Industry that has legal entity is established and became affiliated to the Presidency.

- The General Secretariat of the National Security Council (MGK) became affiliated to the Presidency. The President will moderate the Council and in his absence his deputy will. There is no information about the members of the MGK. “The National Security Policy of the State” is defined as “Policies covering the principles of internal, external and defense modes of action determined by the President”.

- The Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) will gather with the call of the deputy of the President. New members of the Council are the Minister of Treasury and Finance and the Minister of National Education. Disclosure or publication of negotiations and decisions is prohibited. How and when this privacy will be removed will be determined by regulation.

With the Presidential Decree No. 9: (Full text in Turkish; https://goo.gl/eqHVmc )The President will have the authority to approve, protract or terminate the international agreements. The Parliament will enact law in case of law amendment needs.

With the Presidential Decree No. 10; (Full text in Turkish; https://goo.gl/P3wEVf ) Regulations, notifications and drafts prepared by the ministries and institutions will be investigated not only for their compliance to the Constitution and legislation, but also for their compliance to the Presidential decrees, the program of the President, development plans and programs.

With the Presidential Decrees No. 11 and 12: (Full text in Turkish; https://goo.gl/g1p9qT ) The Presidency of the State Archives and the Presidency of the National Palaces Administration were established.

With the Presidential Decree No. 13: (Full text in Turkish; https://goo.gl/pCbyofThe Presidency of Strategy and Budget was established within the Presidency. The Presidency will determine and coordinate the principles and procedures of budget preparation work of all public administrations within the scope of central government with the Ministry of Treasury and Finance.  The development plan, the Presidential plan, the medium term program, the medium term financial plan, the Presidential annual program will be prepared jointly with the Ministry.

With the Presidential Decree No. 14: (Full text in Turkish; https://goo.gl/4AoXRtThe Presidency of Communication is established with the duty to regulate the relations with the press and press activities. The President has the authority to regulate all the activities and rights of the journalists.