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THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF TURKEY

PART TWO

CHAPTER TWO

RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF THE INDIVIDUAL

I. Personal Inviolability, Material and Spiritual Entity of the individual

ARTICLE 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; and shall not be subjected to scientific or medical experiments without his or her consent. No one shall be subjected to torture or ill-treatment; no one shall be subjected to penalties or treatment incompatible with human dignity.

Cases such as the execution of death penalties under court sentences, the act of killing in self-defence, occurrences of death as a result of the use of a weapon permitted by law as a necessary measure during apprehension, the execution of warrants of arrest, the prevention of the escape of lawfully arrested or convicted persons, the quelling of riot or insurrection, or carrying out the orders of authorized bodies during martial law or state of emergency, are outside of the scope of the provision of paragraph 1.

II. Prohibition of Forced Labour

ARTICLE 18. No one shall be forced to work. Forced labour is prohibited.

Work required of an individual while serving a prison 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 do not come under the description of forced labour, provided that the form and conditions of such labour are prescribed by law. III. Personal Liberty and Security

ARTICLE 19. (As amended on October 17, 2001)

Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person.

No one shall be deprived of his or her 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 court order; apprehension or detention of an individual in line with a court ruling or 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 or her 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 for whom a deportation or extradition order has been issued.

Individuals against whom there is strong evidence of having committed an offence can be arrested by decision of a 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 the course of justice; the conditions for such acts 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 a judge.

The person arrested or detained shall be brought before a judge within at latest forty-eight hours and in the case of offences committed collectively within at most four days, excluding the time taken to send the individual to the court nearest to the place of arrest. No one can be deprived of his or her 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.

The arrest or detention of a person shall be notified to next of kin immediately.

Persons under detention shall have the right to request trial within a reasonable time or to be released during investigation or prosecution. Release may be made conditional to 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.

Damage suffered by persons subjected to treatment contrary to the above provisions shall be compensated by the State with respect to the general principles of the law on compensation.

IV. Privacy and Protection of Private Life

A. Privacy of Individual Life

ARTICLE 20. (As amended on October 17, 2001)

Everyone has the right to demand respect for his or her private and family life. Privacy of an individual or family life cannot be violated.

Unless there exists a decision duly passed by a judge on one or several of the grounds of national security, public order, prevention of crime commitment, protection of public health and public morals, or protection of the rights and freedoms of others, or unless there exists a written order of an agency authorised by law in cases where delay is prejudicial, again on the above-mentioned grounds, neither the person nor the private papers, nor belongings, of an individual shall be searched nor shall they be seized. The decision of the authorized agency shall be submitted for the approval of the judge having jurisdiction within 24 hours. The judge shall announce his decision within 48 hours from the time of seizure; otherwise, seizure shall automatically be lifted.

B. Inviolability of the Domicile

ARTICLE 21. (As amended on October 17, 2001)

The domicile of an individual shall not be violated.

Unless there exists a decision duly passed by a judge on one or several of the grounds of national security, public order, prevention of crime commitment, protection of public health and public morals, or protection of the rights and freedoms of others, or unless there exists a written order of an agency authorised by law in cases where delay is prejudicial, again on the above-mentioned grounds, no domicile may be entered or searched or the property therein seized. The decision of the authorised agency shall be submitted for the approval of the judge having jurisdiction within 24 hours. The judge shall announce his decision within 48 hours from the time of seizure; otherwise, seizure shall automatically be lifted.

C. Freedom of Communication

ARTICLE 22. (As amended on October 17, 2001)

Everyone has the right to freedom of communication.

Secrecy of communication is fundamental.

Unless there exists a decision duly passed by a judge on one or several of the grounds of national security, public order, prevention of crime commitment, protection of public health and public morals, or protection of the rights and freedoms of others, or unless there exists a written order of an agency authorised by law in cases where delay is prejudicial, again on the above-mentioned grounds, communication shall not be impeded nor its secrecy be violated. The decision of the authorised agency shall be submitted for the approval of the judge having jurisdiction within 24 hours. The judge shall announce his decision within 48 hours from the time of seizure; otherwise, seizure shall automatically be lifted.

Public establishments or institutions where exceptions to the above may be applied are defined by law.

V. Freedom of Residence and Movement

ARTICLE 23. (As amended on October 17, 2001)

Everyone has the right to freedom of residence and movement.

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 citizenís freedom to leave the country may be restricted on account of civic obligations, or criminal investigation or prosecution.

Citizens may not be deported, or deprived of their right of entry to their homeland.

VI. Freedom of Religion and Conscience

ARTICLE 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 subject to the individualís 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 Opinion

ARTICLE 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 anyone be blamed or accused on account of his thoughts and opinions.

VIII. Freedom of Expression and Dissemination of Thought

ARTICLE 26. (As amended on October 17, 2001)

Everyone has the right to express and disseminate his thoughts 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 licensing.

The exercise of these freedoms may be restricted for the purposes of protecting national security, public order and public safety, the basic characteristics of the Republic and safeguarding the indivisible integrity of the State with its territory and nation, preventing crime, punishing offenders, withholding information duly classified as a state secret, protecting the reputation and rights and private and family life of others, or protecting professional secrets as prescribed by law, or ensuring the proper functioning of the judiciary.

The formalities, conditions and procedures to be applied in exercising the right to expression and dissemination of thought shall be prescribed by law.

IX. Freedom of Science and the Arts

ARTICLE 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 Press

ARTICLE 28. (As amended on October 17, 2001)

The press is free, and shall not be censored. The establishment of a printing house shall not be subject to prior permission or the deposit of a financial guarantee.

The state shall take the necessary measures to ensure 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 the decision of a judge, or in the event delay is deemed prejudicial, by the competent authority designated by law. The authority suspending distribution shall notify a competent judge of its decision within twenty-four hours at the latest. The order suspending distribution shall become null and void unless upheld by a competent judge within forty-eight hours at the latest.

No ban shall be placed on the reporting of events, except by the decision of judge issued to ensure proper functioning of the judiciary, within the limits specified by law.

Periodical and non-periodical publications may be seized by a decision of a 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 order to confiscate shall notify a competent judge of its decision within twenty-four hours at the latest. The order to confiscate shall become null and void unless upheld by the competent court within forty-eight hours at the latest.

The general common provisions shall apply when seizure and confiscation of periodicals and non-periodicals for reasons of criminal investigation and prosecution takes place.

Periodicals published in Turkey may be temporarily suspended by court sentence if found to contain 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 a continuation of a suspended periodical is prohibited; and shall be seized following a decision by a competent judge.

B. Right to Publish Periodicals and Non-periodicals

ARTICLE 29. Publication of periodicals or non-periodicals shall not be subject to prior authorisation or 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 the rules relevant to the profession of journalism shall be regulated by law. The law shall not impose any political, economic, financial, and technical conditions, thus 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 Facilities

ARTICLE 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 offences against the indivisible integrity of the state with its territory and nation, against the fundamental principles of the Republic or against national security leading to conviction are involved.

D. Right to Use Media Other Than the Press Owned by Public Corporations

ARTICLE 31. (As amended on October 17, 2001)

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 the grounds other than national security, public order, public morals, or the protection of public health.

E. Right of Rectification and Reply

ARTICLE 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 or not this publication is required.

XI. Rights and Freedoms of Assembly

A. Freedom of Association

ARTICLE 33. (As amended on October 17, 2001)

Everyone has the right to form associations, or become a member of an association, or withdraw from membership without prior permission.

No one shall be compelled to become or remain a member of an association.

Freedom of association may only be restricted by law on the grounds of protecting national security and public order, or prevention of crime commitment, or protecting public morals, public health.

The formalities, conditions, and procedures governing the exercise of freedom of association shall be prescribed by law.

Associations may be dissolved or suspended from activity by the decision of a judge in cases prescribed by law. In cases where delay endangers national security or public order and in cases where it is necessary to prevent the perpetration or the continuation of a crime or to effect apprehension, an authority designated by law may be vested with power to suspend the association from activity. The decision of this authority shall be submitted for the approval of the judge in charge within twenty-four hours. The judge shall announce his decision within forty-eight hours, otherwise this administrative decision shall be annulled automatically.

Provisions of the first paragraph shall not prevent imposition of restrictions on the rights of armed forces and security forces officials and civil servants to the extent that the duties of civil servants so require.

The provisions of this article are also applicable to foundations.

B. Right to Hold Meetings and Demonstration Marches

ARTICLE 34. (As amended on October 17, 2001)

Everyone has the right to hold unarmed and peaceful meetings and demonstration marches without prior permission.

The right to hold meetings and demonstration marches shall only be restricted by law on the grounds of national security, and public order, or prevention of crime commitment, public health and public morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

The formalities, conditions, and procedures governing the exercise of the right to hold meetings and demonstration marches shall be prescribed by law.

XII. Property Rights

ARTICLE 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 Rights

ARTICLE 36. (As amended on October 17, 2001)

Everyone has the right of litigation either as plaintiff or defendant and the right to a fair trial before the courts through lawful means and procedures.

No court shall refuse to hear a case within its jurisdiction.

B. Guarantee of Lawful Judgement

ARTICLE 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 Penalties

ARTICLE 38. (As amended on October 17, 2001)

No one shall be punished for any act which does not constitute a criminal offence under the law in force at the time committed; no one shall be given a heavier penalty for an offence other 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 one 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 a penalty.

The death penalty shall not be imposed excluding the cases in time of war, imminent threat of war and terrorist crimes.

Findings obtained through illegal methods shall not be considered as evidence.

No one shall be deprived of his liberty merely on the ground of inability to fulfil a contractual obligation.

No citizen shall be extradited to a foreign country on account of an offence.

XIV. Right to Prove an Allegation

ARTICLE 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 Freedoms

ARTICLE 40. (As amended on October 17, 2001)

Everyone whose constitutional rights and freedoms have been violated has the right to request prompt access to the competent authorities.

The State, is obliged to indicate in its transactions, the legal remedies and authorities the persons concerned should apply and their time limits.

Damages incurred by any person through unlawful treatment by holders of public office shall be compensated for by the state. The state reserves the right of recourse to the official responsible.


Parts of the Turkish Constitution: Previous - Next
Preamble, Part I, Part II: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Chapter 4, Part III: Chapter 1, Chapter 2, Chapter 3, Part IV, Part V, Part VI, Part VII, Index
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