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Political Structure

The Legislature: According to Article 7 of the Constitution, legislative power is vested in the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) on behalf of the Turkish Nation. This power cannot be delegated. The TGNA comprises 550 deputies designated in elections held every four years. The parliament can decide to postpone the elections before is for one year in case of war or to renew the elections before is four-year term is completed (early elections). It is also possible to hold new elections by a decision of the President under circumstances set forth in the Constitution. When vacancies arise in the memberships of the TGNA, by-elections are held. By-elections may be held only once in every election term. By-elections cannot be held within one year before general elections.

The elections of deputies are held freely, evenly, by ballot, in a single stage, and under supervision and inspection of judicial organs in line with the principles of universal suffrage, open count up and inventory. Every Turkish citizen has a right to vote if over 18 years of age and has a right to be elected if over 25 years of age. Election procedures are specified by the law.

On assuming Office, deputies take an “oath” included in the Constitution, and they represent the entire nation. Deputies have legal immunity. The TGNA decides on cases of lifting parliamentary immunity and on the dismissal from parliament of a deputy. It is possible to apply to the Constitution Court nullift such decisions.

The Parliament carries out its activities through commissions in accordance with the Constitution and the Rules of Procedure, which are drawn up by the TGNA itself. Commissions are formed according to the areas of expertise engaged in preparatory activities. The final word belongs to the General Assembly. Every citizen and all foreigners residing in Turkey on the principle of reciprocity, file request or a complaint with the Petition Commission.

The Executive Body: The executive body comprises the President and the Council of Ministers. The institutions of higher education, tehe Professional organizations qualifying as public institutions, the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, the Atatürk High Institution of Culture, Language and History, and the Directorate of Religious Affairs are also included in the executive body.

The President: The president is the head of the State, and represents the Republic of Turkey and the unity of the Turkish Nation. The president is elected by the people, from among deputies who are over 40 years of age and who have completed higher education, or from among the turkish citizens who comply with these requirements and who are eligible to be a deputy by general voting and by simple majority of the valid votes. Also, the President is elected for a period of 5 years and the same person can only be elected twice.

The President, apart from ensuring the implementation of the Constitution and the regular and harmonious functioning bodies State, has a number of legislative duties including to sumon the TGNA to meet, if necessary, to promulgate legislations or return them to the Parliament for further deliberation, to submit constitutional amendments to a referendum, to  appeal to the Constitutional Court fort he annulment of laws, decrees in force of law (statutory decrees) and a part of or all of the Rules of Procedure of the TGNA on the grounds of contradiction with the Constitution in terms of method and principler, and to call new elections fort he TGNA under conditions stipulated in the Constitution.

The executive functions of the President are to appoint the Prime Minister, and also the ministers upon the proposal of the Prime Minister  to accredit representatives  of the Turkish State to foreign countries and to receive their envoys; to ratifty and promulgate international agreements, to preside over the National Security Council and, if need be, the Council of Ministers, to sign decrees, to remit sentences imposed on certain individuals on gorunds stipulated in the Constitution, and to appoint members of the State Supervisory Council, teh Higher Education Council and the university rectors.

The President’s judiciary duties are limited to ythe appointment of the members of the Supreme courts.

The Council of Ministers: The Council of Ministers consists of the Prime Minister and the ministers. The Prime Minister, appointed by the President from among the members of parliament, is the head of the Council of Ministers. Ministers are nominated by the Prime Minister from among the deputies or those eligible for election as deputies, and appointed by the President. The President can remove the ministers from Office upon the proposal of the Prime Minister.

The National Security Council is a constitutional body comprising the Prime Minister, the Chief of the General Staff, three Deputy Prime Ministers, the ministers of National Defense, Interior and foreign Affairs, the commanders of the Army, Navy andA ir Force and the General Commander of the Gendarmerie, under the chairmanship of the President. The National Security Council makes decisions related to the formulation and implementation of national security policies, and recommedns  these decisions to the Council of Ministers. The Council of Ministers evaluates these decisions.

The Judiciary: Judiciary power is exercised by independent courts on behalf of the Turkish Nationsl. The supremacy of law and the independence of the courts and judges, as well as the security of the judges are fundamental. With the exception of special circumstances, court hearings are open to mthe public. Criminal responsibility is personal and no on emay be held guity until proven guilty in a court of law. Everyone has the right of litigation either as plaintiff or defendant before the courts through lawful means and procedure, and also has the right to lair trial.

International arbitration is possible in exclusive charters and contracts related to public services and the jurisdictional disputes arising from them.

The judiciary is divided into three in the forms of legal, administrative and special judiciary. The military courts are classified as military judicial bodies.

The high courts specified in the Constitution comprise the Constitutional Court in charge of constitutional adjudication, the Supreme Court of Appeals in charge of legal judicial adjudication, the Supreme Military Administrative Court in charge of military adjudication, and the Court of Jurisdictional Disputes in charce of jurisdictional disagreement. The Judiciary Chapter of the Constitution also includes the Supreme Council of Public Accounts  ( the Audil Court) and the Supreme Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors.

The Constitutional Court:  The function of the Constitutional Court is to examine in terms of form and substance the constitutionality of laws, decrees having the force of law and Rules of Procedure of the TGNA,. İn its capacity as the Supreme Court, it tries the President, members of the council of Ministers, the chairmen, members and chief prosecutors of  the high courts, the Supreme Council of Judges and public Prosecutors, the Supreme Council of Public Accounts, the acting Chief Public Prosecutor and with Constitutional Amendments made on September 12th, the Chief of General  staff,L and, Naval and Air Forces commanders  and the commander of the Gendarmarie for offences related to their duties. It hears the cases related to the banning of politicial parties and the requests of the Office of the Chief Prosecutor of the Supreme Courth of Appeals to warn politicial parties. It audits the accounts of the politicial parties, examines the TGNA decisions to lift the legislative immunities of deputies or to dismiss them from Office, and designates the President and the Acting President of the Court of Jurisdictional.

The President, the parliamentary groups of the party in power or the main opposition party as well as deputies comprising at least oned fifth of the total members of the TGNA have the right to directly file an annulment action at the Constitutional Court Furthermore, the courts are also authorized to file a suit at the Constitutional Court when they find that the law to be applied in trying a case is unconstitutional, or upon a self-conviction of the court on such a necessity.

The Constitutional Court is composed of 17 permanent members who are elected for 12 years . 3 members are designated by the TGNA, 4 members are designated by the President among senior administrators, self-employed lawyers, first class judges and public prosecutors and Constitutional Court rapporteurs  who have worked at least 5 years as a rapporteur and 10 members are also designated by the President among the High Court of Appeals, the Council of State, the Supreme Military Court of Appeals and the higher Education Council candidates.

Election System:  The Constitution also defines the election system. Elections in Turkey are held according to a proportional representation system in a single stage in accordance with the principles of general, equal, secret and direct voting, universal suffrage, public counting and tally of the votes. Every province is an electoral milieu and every ward is a precinct.

A 10% nationwide threshold is practiced in elections. Those political parties failing to receive at least 10% of the valid votes throughout the country in general elections, and throughout an electoral milieu in by-elections, cannot be represented in the parliament. The d’Hont method applies for the distribution of deputies among the parties acording to the election results.

Political Parties: Under the Constitution, the political parties are the essential elements of pluralistic and participatory democratic life and they are formed without prior permission. The parties enjoy public juristic entity upon the submission of the names of a minimum of 30 founding members eligible as deputies to the Ministry of the Interior. Every Turkish citizen of 18 years of age has the right to join a political party. In general terms, public prosecutors and judges, civil servants, members of the Turkish Armed Forces and students in prehigher education schools cannot become members of political parties. If the statues, program and activities of a political party are in conflict with the independence of the State; its indivisible integrity with the country and narion; human rights; the principles of equality an a state governed by the rule of law; national sovereignty and the principles of a democratic and secular Republic; or if they intend to advocate or try to establish ans class or group dictatorship or any kind of dictatorship ; and if they incite people to commit crimes, the party can be closed by the Constitutional Court or it can be partially or totally deprived of state aid in accordance with the severity of the act committed, upon the law-suit filed by the Chief Public Prosecutor of the Supreme Court of Appeals.

Financial Structures And Auditing Of Political Parties: The revenue resources of the political parties are the membership dues, donations of corporate or legal bodies within the limits specified in the Political Parties Law, and stateaid set forth in the sama code. Donations of real astate, movable assets, cash or the granting of privileges and rights to political parties by public institutions and agencies as well as local administrations are prohibited. Furthermore,political parties receiving donations or assistance from foreign states,international organizations, foreigners, and associations, groups or institutions in foreign countries are dissolved permanently.

The Constitutional Court has the duty and authority to audit the finances of the political parties. The Court carries out this duty within the framework of the Political Parties Law and the verdicts it delivers are final.