Content

SEND US FEEDBACK


We're always looking for ways to make Geoba.se better. Have an idea? See something that needs fixing? Let us know!

Turkey: Provisions of the 1982 Constitution
Country Study > Chapter 4 > Government and Politics > The Constitutional System > Provisions of the 1982 Constitution

PROVISIONS OF THE 1982 CONSTITUTION


Article 2 of the 1982 constitution stipulates that the Republic of Turkey is a "democratic, secular, and social state governed by the rule of law," respecting human rights and loyal to the political philosophy of Kemal Atatürk. Article 5 vests sovereignty in the nation, stipulating that it is not to be delegated to "any individual, group, or class." The fundamental objective and duty of the state is defined as safeguarding the independence and integrity of the democratic Turkish nation and ensuring "the welfare, peace, and happiness of the individual and society." The constitution divides the powers of the state among the three branches of government. The legislative branch consists of a unicameral parliament, the National Assembly, composed of 400 members (later increased by amendment to 450) elected to five-year terms. The executive branch consists of the president, who is elected to a seven-year term by the National Assembly, and a prime minister, who is appointed by the president from among National Assembly deputies. The prime minister heads the Council of Ministers, members of which are nominated by the prime minister and appointed by the president. The judicial branch is independent of the legislature and the executive.

Like its predecessor, the 1982 constitution includes a detailed bill of rights covering the social, economic, and political rights and liberties of citizens. According to Article 5, all individuals are equal before the law and possess "inherent fundamental rights and freedoms which are inviolable and inalienable." However, articles 10 through 15 authorize the government to restrict individual rights in the interest of safeguarding the "integrity of the state" and "the public interest." The government may impose further limitations on individual rights "in times of war, martial law, or state of emergency."

Articles 28 and 67 of the 1982 constitution stipulate that the individual is entitled to privacy and to freedom of thought and communication, travel, and association; that the physical integrity of the individual must not be violated; that torture and forced labor are prohibited; that all persons have access to the courts and are assumed innocent until proven guilty; that all Turkish citizens over twenty years of age have the right to vote in elections and to take part in referenda; and that the news media are free and not liable to censorship, except by a court order when national security or the "indivisible integrity of the state" are threatened. According to articles 35, 44, and 46, all citizens have the right to own and inherit property. The state is obligated to provide land to landless farmers or to farmers with insufficient land, and, if the public interest so requires, the state may expropriate private property, provided that compensation is paid in advance.

Articles 49 through 54 of the 1982 constitution pertain to labor. The constitution stipulates that it is the right and duty of all people of working age to work and that all have the freedom to work in the field of their choice. The state is given responsibility to take necessary measures to raise the standard of living of workers, to protect them, and to create suitable economic conditions for the prevention of unemployment. Workers have the right to rest and leisure; minors, women, and people with disabilities are to be provided special protection at work. Workers and employers are free to form labor unions and employers' associations without prior permission, but no one may be compelled to join a union or association. Workers are allowed to bargain collectively and to strike, but not in a manner "detrimental to society." General and politically motivated strikes are prohibited.

According to Article 42, primary education is compulsory and free in public schools. Only Turkish may be taught as the primary language, and all schools must follow the principles and reforms of Atatürk. Education is to be based on "contemporary science and education methods" and is provided under the supervision and control of the state. The state provides scholarships and other means of assistance "to enable students of merit lacking financial means to continue their education."

Article 24 guarantees freedom of religion, provided that the exercise of this right does not threaten the "indivisible integrity of the state." No one may be compelled to worship or to participate in religious ceremonies or rites. Primary and secondary schools are required to provide religious instruction under state supervision and control. Secularism, a primary principle of Atatürk's reforms, is reaffirmed in the provision forbidding "even partially basing the fundamental, social, economic, political, and legal order of the state on religious tenets."

Articles 68 and 69 of the 1982 constitution stipulate that citizens may form or join political parties without prior permission from the government. However, political parties must act according to the principles of the constitution and may be dissolved by the Constitutional Court if that body determines that their activities "conflict with the indivisible integrity of the state." Political parties may not have ties with any association, union, or professional organization. Judges, teachers at institutions of higher education, students, civil servants, and members of the armed forces may not join political parties.

Other articles of the constitution obligate citizens to pay taxes and to render national service in the armed forces or elsewhere in the public sector, grant them the right to petition competent authorities and the National Assembly for redress of complaints, and stipulate that the constitutionality of all laws and decrees is subject to review by the Constitutional Court. To amend the constitution, at least one-third of the members of the National Assembly first must propose an amendment. The actual proposal then must win the votes of a two-thirds majority of all members of the assembly. If the amendment is vetoed by the president, the votes of a three-quarters majority of the members are required to override the veto.

The 1982 constitution also included a set of provisional articles, the first of which stipulated that the chair of the NSC and head of state would become president of the republic for seven years following approval of the constitution in a referendum. Another provisional article stipulated that the NSC would be transformed into an advisory Presidential Council after the formation of a civilian government following elections for the National Assembly. This Presidential Council would function for a period of six years and then be dissolved. Yet another provisional article made permanent a 1981 NSC decree that barred more than 200 politicians from joining new political parties or becoming candidates for a period of ten years. Some of the provisional articles were later rescinded.

Once the 1982 constitution had been approved but before it was implemented, the NSC in April 1983 issued a Political Parties Law (Law No. 2820) that placed further restrictions on political activities. This law, which was intended to regulate the formation of political parties in advance of the November 1983 National Assembly elections, stipulates that political organizations cannot be based on class, religion, race, or language distinctions. To qualify for registration, a political party is required to have at least thirty founders, each of whom must be approved by the minister of interior. New political parties are prohibited from claiming to be continuations of any parties in existence before 1980. The law also requires each party to establish organizations in at least half the country's provinces and in one-third of the districts within those provinces. Political parties are prohibited from criticizing the military intervention of September 1980 or the actions or decisions of the NSC. The Political Parties Law empowers the NSC and its successor, the Presidential Council, to investigate all party members and candidates for office and to declare any unsuitable.

Data as of January 1995




Last Updated: January 1995


Editor's Note: Country Studies included here were published between 1988 and 1998. The Country study for Turkey was first published in 1995. Where available, the data has been updated through 2008. The date at the bottom of each section will indicate the time period of the data. Information on some countries may no longer be up to date. See the "Research Completed" date at the beginning of each study on the Title Page or the "Data as of" date at the end of each section of text. This information is included due to its comprehensiveness and for historical purposes.

Note that current information from the CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State Background Notes, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Country Briefs, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Country Profiles, and the World Bank can be found on Factba.se.

Turkey Main Page Country Studies Main Page




Section 135 of 206






IMAGES


Click any image to enlarge.


National Flag



(TL) Turkish Lira (TRY)
Convert to Any Currency



Map



Locator Map