|Friday, 31 March 2023|
The Constitution of the Republic of Turkey
FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES
THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF THE INDIVIDUAL
I. Personal Inviolability, Material and Spiritual Entity of the IndividualARTICLE 17. Everyone has the right to life and the right to protect and develop his material and spiritual entity.
The physical integrity of the individual shall not be violated except under medical necessity and in cases prescribed by law; he shall not be subject to scientific or medical experiments without his consent.
No one shall be subjected to torture or ill-treatment; no one shall be subjected to penalty or treatment incompatible with human dignity.
The cases of carrying out of death penalties under court sentences, the act of killing in self-defense, the occurrences of death as a result of the use of a weapon permitted by law as a necessary measure in cases of: apprehension, or the execution of warrants of arrest, the prevention of escape of lawfully arrested or convicted persons, the quelling of a riot or insurrection, the execution of the orders of authorized bodies during martial law or state of emergency are outside of the provision of paragraph 1.
II. Prohibition of Forced LabourARTICLE 18. No one shall be required to perform forced labour. Unpaid compulsory work is prohibited.
The term forced labour does not include work required of an individual while serving a court sentence or under detention services required from citizens during a state of emergency, and physical or intellectual work necessitated by the requirements of the country as a civic obligation, provided that the form and conditions of such labour are prescribed by law.
III. Personal Liberty and SecurityARTICLE 19. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person.
No one shall be deprived of his liberty except in the following cases where procedure and conditions are prescribed by law: execution of sentences restricting liberty and the implementation of security measures decided by courts, apprehension or detention of a person as a result of a court order or as a result of an obligation upon him designated by law; execution of an order for the purpose of the educational supervision of a minor or for bringing him before the competent authority; execution of measures taken in conformity with the relevant legal provision for the treatment, education or correction in institutions of a person of unsound mind, an alcoholic or drug addict or vagrant or a person spreading contagious diseases, when such persons constitute a danger to the public; apprehension or detention of a person who enters or attempts to enter illegally into the country or concerning whom a deportation or extradition order has been issued.
Individuals against whom there are strong indications of having committed an offence can be arrested by decision of judge solely for the purposes of preventing escape, or preventing the destruction or alteration of evidence as well as in similar other circumstances which necessitate detention and are prescribed by law. Apprehension of a person without a decision by a judge shall be resorted to only in cases when a person is caught in the act of committing an offence or in cases where delay is likely to thwart justice; the conditions for such apprehension shall be defined by law.
Individuals arrested or detained shall be promptly notified, and in all cases in writing, or orally, when the former is not possible, of the grounds for their arrest or detention and the charges against them; in cases of offences committed collectively this notification shall be made, at the latest, before the individual is brought before the judge.
The person arrested or detained shall be brought before a judge within fourty-eight hours and within fifteen days in the case of offences committed collectively, excluding the time taken to send him to the court nearest to the place of seizure. No one can be deprived of his liberty without the decision of a judge after the expiry of the above specified periods. These periods may be extended during a state of emergency, under martial law or in time of war.
Notification of the situation of the person arrested or detained shall be made to the next of kin, except in cases of definite necessities pertaining to the risks of revealing the scope and subject of the investigation compelling otherwise.
Persons under detention shall have the right to request to be tried with a reasonable time or to be released during investigation or prosecution. Release may be made conditional on the presentation of an appropriate guarantee with a view to securing the presence of the person at the trial proceedings and the execution of the court sentence.
Persons deprived of their liberty under any circumstances are entitled to apply to the appropriate judicial authority for speedy conclusion of proceedings regarding their situation and for their release if the restriction placed upon them is not lawful.
Damages suffered by persons subjected to treatment contrary to the above provisions shall be compensated for according to law, by the State.
IV. Privacy and Protection of Private Life
A. Privacy of the Individual's LifeARTICLE 20. Everyone has the right to demand respect for his private and family life. Privacy of individual and family life cannot be violated. Exceptions necessitated by judiciary investigation and prosecution are reserved.
Unless there exists a decision duly passed by a judge in cases explicitly defined by law, and unless there exists an order of an agency authorised by law in cases where delay is deemed prejudicial, neither the person nor the private papers, nor belongings of an individual shall be searched nor shall they be seized.
B. Inviolability of DomicileARTICLE 21. The domicile of an individual shall not be violated. Unless there exists a decision duly passed by a judge in cases explicitly defined by law, and unless there exists an order of an agency authorised by law in cases where delay is deemed prejudicial, no domicile may be entered or searched, or the property therein seized.
C. Freedom of CommunicationARTICLE 22. Everyone has the right to freedom of communication.
Secrecy of communication is fundamental.
Communication shall not be impeded nor its secrecy be violated, unless there exists a decision duly passed by a judge in cases explicitly defined by law, and unless there exists an order of an agency authorised by law in cases where delay is deemed prejudicial.
Public establishments or institutions where exceptions to the above may be applied will be defined by law.
V. Freedom of Residence and MovementARTICLE 23. Everyone has the right to freedom of residence and movement.
Freedom of residence may be restricted by law for the purpose of preventing offences, promoting social and economic development, ensuring sound and orderly urban growth, and protecting public property; freedom of movement may be restricted by law for the purpose of investigation and prosecution of an offence, and prevention of offences. A citizen's freedom to leave the country may be restricted on account of the national economic situation, civic obligations, or criminal investigation or prosecution.
Citizens may not be deported, or deprived of their right of entry into their homeland.
VI. Freedom of Religion and ConscienceARTICLE 24. Everyone has the right to freedom of conscience, religious belief and conviction.
Acts of worship, religious services, and ceremonies shall be conducted freely, provided that they do not violate the provisions of Article 14.
No one shall be compelled to worship, or to participate in religious ceremonies and rites, to reveal religious beliefs and convictions, or be blamed or accused because of his religious beliefs and convictions.
Education and instruction in religion and ethics shall be conducted under State supervision and control. Instruction in religious culture and moral education shall be compulsory in the curricula of primary and secondary schools. Other religious education and instruction shall be subjected to the individual's own desire, and in the case of minors, to the request of their legal representatives.
No one shall be allowed to exploit or abuse religion or religious feelings, or things held sacred by religion, in any manner whatsoever, for the purpose of personal or political influence, or for even partially basing the fundamental, social, economic, political, and legal order of the State on religious tenets.
VII. Freedom of Thought and OpinionARTICLE 25. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought and opinion.
No one shall be compelled to reveal his thoughts and opinions for any reason or purpose; nor shall any one be blamed or accused on account of his thought and opinions.
VIII. Freedom of Expression and Dissemination of ThoughtARTICLE 26. Everyone has the right to express and disseminate his thought and opinion by speech, in writing or in pictures or through other media, individually or collectively. This right includes the freedom to receive and impart information and ideas without interference from official authorities. This provision shall not preclude subjecting transmission by radio, television, cinema, and similar means to a system of licencing.
The exercise of these freedoms may be restricted for the purposes of preventing crime, punishing offenders, withholding information duly classified as a State secret, protecting the reputation and rights and the private and family life of others, or protecting professional secrets as prescribed by law, or ensuring the proper functioning of the judiciary.
No language prohibited by law shall be used in the expression and dissemination of thought. Any written or printed documents, phonograph records, magnetic or video tapes, and other means of expression used in contravention of this provision shall be seized by a duly issued decision of a judge or, in cases where delay is deemed prejudicial, by the competent authority designated by law. The authority issuing the seizure order shall notify the competent judge of its decision within twenty-four hours. The judge shall decide on the matter within three days.
Provisions regulating the use of means of disseminating information and ideas shall not be interpreted as a restriction of the freedom of expression and dissemination unless they prevent the dissemination of information and thoughts.
IX. Freedom of Science and ArtsARTICLE 27. Everyone has the right to study and teach freely, explain, and disseminate science and arts and to carry out research in these fields.
The right to disseminate shall not be exercised for the purpose of changing the provisions of Articles 1, 2 and 3 of this Constitution.
The provisions of this article shall not preclude regulation by law of the entry and distribution of foreign publications in the country.
X. Provisions Relating to the Press and Publication
A. Freedom of the PressARTICLE 28. The press is free, and shall not be censored. The establishment of a printing house shall not be subject to prior permission and to the deposit of a financial guarantee.
Publication shall not be made in any language prohibited by law.
The State shall take the necessary measures to ensure the freedom of the press and freedom of information.
In the limitation of freedom of the press, Articles 26 and 27 of the Constitution are applicable.
Anyone who writes or prints any news or articles which threaten the internal or external security of the State or the indivisible integrity of the State with its territory and nation, which tend to incite offence, riot or insurrection, or which refer to classified State secrets and anyone who prints or transmits such news or articles to others for the above purposes, shall be held responsible under the law relevant to these offences. Distribution may be suspended as a preventive measure by a decision of judge, or in the event delay is deemed prejudicial, by the competent authority designated by law. The authority suspending distribution shall notify the competent judge of its decision within twenty-four hours at the latest. The order suspending distribution shall become null and void unless upheld by the competent judge within forty-eight hours at the latest.
No ban shall be placed on the reporting of events, except by a decision of judge issued to ensure proper functioning of the judiciary, within the limits to be specified by law.
Periodical and nonperiodical publications may be seized by a decision of judge in cases of ongoing investigation or prosecution of offences prescribed by law; and, in situations where delay could endanger the indivisible integrity of the State with its territory and nation, national security, public order or public morals and for the prevention of offence by order of the competent authority designated by law. The authority issuing the seizure order shall notify the competent judge of its decision within twenty-four hours at the latest. The seizure order shall become null and void unless upheld by the competent court within forty-eights hours at the latest.
The general common provisions shall apply when seizure and confiscation of periodicals and nonperiodicals for reasons of criminal investigation and prosecution take place.
Periodicals published in Turkey may be temporarily suspended by court sentence if found guilty of publishing material which contravenes the indivisible integrity of the state with its territory and nation, the fundamental principles of the Republic, national security and public morals. Any publication which clearly bears the characteristics of being the continuation of the suspended periodical is prohibited; and shall be seized by a decision of judge.
B. Right to Publish Periodicals and NonperiodicalsARTICLE 29. Publication of periodicals or nonperiodicals shall not be subject to prior authorisation or to the deposit of a financial guarantee.
To publish a periodical it shall suffice to submit the information and documents prescribed by law to the competent authority designated by law. If the information and documents submitted are found to be in contravention of law, the competent authority shall apply to the appropriate court for suspension of publication.
The publication of periodicals, the conditions of publication, the financial resources and rules relevant to the profession of journalism shall be regulated by law. The law shall not impose any political, economic, financial, and technical conditions obstructing or making difficult the free dissemination of news, thought, or beliefs.
Periodicals shall have equal access to the means and facilities of the State, other public corporate bodies, and their agencies.
C. Protection of Printing FacilitiesARTICLE 30. A printing press or its annexes duly established as a publishing house under law shall not be seized, confiscated, or barred from operation on the grounds of being an instrument of crime, except in cases where it is convicted of offences against the indivisible integrity of the State with its territory and nation, against the fundamental principles of the Republic or against national security.
D. Right to Use Mass Media Other Than the Press Which Are Owned by Public CorporationsARTICLE 31. Individuals and political parties have the right to use mass media and means of communication other than the press owned by public corporations. The conditions and procedures for such use shall be regulated by law.
The law shall not impose restrictions preventing the public from receiving information or forming ideas and opinions through these media, or preventing public opinion from being freely formed, on grounds other than the general restrictions set forth in Article 13.
E. Right of Rectification and ReplyARTICLE 32. The right of rectification and reply shall be accorded only in cases where personal reputation and honour is attacked or in cases of unfounded allegation and shall be regulated by law.
If a rectification or reply is not published, the judge will decide, within seven days of appeal by the individual involved, whether this publication is required.
XI. Rights and Freedoms of Assembly
A. Freedom of AssociationARTICLE 33. Everyone has the right to form associations without prior permission.
Submitting the information and documents stipulated by law to the competent authority designated by law shall suffice to enable an association to be formed. If the information and documents submitted are found to contravene the law, the competent authority shall apply to the appropriate court for the suspension of activities or dissolution of the association involved.
No one shall be compelled to become or remain a member of an association. The formalities, conditions, and procedures governing the exercise of freedom of association shall be prescribed by law.
Associations shall not contravene the general grounds of restriction in Article 13, nor shall they pursue political aims, engage in political activities, receive support from or give support to political parties, or take joint action with labour unions, with public professional organisations or with foundations.
Associations deviating from their original aims or conditions of establishment, or failing to fulfill the obligations stipulated by law shall be considered dissolved.
Associations may be dissolved by decision of judge in cases prescribed by law. They may be suspended from activity by the competent authority designated by law pending a court decision in cases where delay endangers the indivisible integrity of the State with its territory and nation, national security or sovereignty, public order, the protection of the rights and freedoms of others, or the prevention of crime.
Provisions of the first paragraph of this article shall not prevent imposition of restrictions on the rights of Armed Forces and Security Forces officials and civil servants to form associations, or the prohibition of the exercise of this right.
This article shall apply equally to foundations and other organisations of the same nature.
B. Right to Hold Meetings and Demonstration MarchesARTICLE 34. Everyone has the right to hold unarmed and peaceful meetings and demonstration marches without prior permission.
The competent administrative authority may determine a site and route for the demonstration march in order to prevent disruption of order in urban life.
The formalities, conditions, and procedures governing the exercise of the right to hold meetings and demonstration marches shall be prescribed by law.
The competent authority designated by law may prohibit a particular meeting and demonstration march, or postpone it for not more than two months in situations where there is a strong possibility that disturbances may arise which would seriously upset public order, where the requirement of national security may be violated, or where acts aimed at destroying the fundamental characteristics of the Republic may be committed. In cases where the law forbids all meetings or demonstration marches in districts of a province for the same reasons, the postponement may not exceed three months.
Associations, foundations, labour unions, and public professional organisations shall not hold meetings or demonstration marches exceeding their own scope and aims.
XII. Right of PropertyARTICLE 35. Everyone has the right to own and inherit property.
These rights may be limited by law only in view of public interest.
The exercise of the right to own property shall not be in contravention of the public interest.
XIII. Provisions Relating to the Protection of Rights
A. Freedom to Claim RightsARTICLE 36. Everyone has the right of litigation either as plaintiff or defendant before the courts through lawful means and procedure.
No court shall refuse to hear a case within its jurisdiction.
B. Guarantee of Lawful JudgeARTICLE 37. No one may be tried by any judicial authority other than the legally designated court.
Extraordinary tribunals with jurisdiction that would in effect remove a person from the jurisdiction of his legally designated court shall not be established.
C. Principles Relating to Offences and PenaltiesARTICLE 38. No one shall be punished for any act which did not constitute a criminal offence under the law in force at the time it was committed; no one shall be given a heavier penalty for an offence than the penalty applicable at the time when the offence was committed.
The provisions of the above paragraph shall also apply to the statute of limitations on offences and penalties and on the results of conviction.
Penalties, and security measures in lieu of penalties, shall be prescribed only by law.
No one shall be held guilty until proven guilty in a court of law.
No one shall be compelled to make a statement that would incriminate himself or his legal next of kin, or to present such incriminating evidence.
Criminal responsibility shall be personal.
General confiscation shall not be imposed as penalty.
The Administration shall not impose any sanction resulting in restriction of personal liberty. Exceptions to this provision may be introduced by law regarding internal order of the Armed Forces.
No citizen shall be extradited to a foreign country on account of an offence.
XIV. Right to Prove an AllegationARTICLE 39. In libel and defamation suits involving allegations against persons in the public service in connection with their functions or services, the defendant has the right to prove the allegations. A plea for presenting proof shall not be granted in any other case unless proof would serve the public interest or unless the plaintiff consents.
XV. Protection of Fundamental Rights and FreedomsARTICLE 40. Everyone whose constitutional rights and freedoms are violated has the right to request prompt access to the competent authorities.
Damages incurred by any person through unlawful treatment by holders of public office shall be compensated by the State. The State reserves the right of recourse to the official responsible.
Parts of the Turkish Constitution:
Preamble, Part I, Part II: a, b, c, d, PART III: a, b, c, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Amendment 1987, Index