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THE CONSTITUTION OF THE REPUBLIC OF TURKEY

PART THREE

FUNDAMENTAL ORGANS OF THE REPUBLIC

CHAPTER ONE

LEGISLATIVE POWER

I. The Turkish Grand National Assembly

A. Composition

ARTICLE 75. (As amended on July 23, 1995)

The Turkish Grand National Assembly shall be composed of five hundred and fifty deputies elected by universal suffrage.

B. Eligibility to be a Deputy

ARTICLE 76. Every Turk over the age of 30 is eligible to be a deputy.

Persons who have not completed their primary education, who have been deprived of legal capacity, who have failed to perform compulsory military service, who are banned from public service, who have been sentenced to a prison term totalling one year or more excluding involuntary offences, or to a heavy imprisonment; those who have been convicted for dishonourable offences such as embezzlement, corruption, bribery, theft, fraud, forgery, breach of trust, fraudulent bankruptcy; and persons convicted of smuggling, conspiracy in official bidding or purchasing, of offences related to the disclosure of state secrets, of involvement in acts of terrorism, or incitement and encouragement of such activities, shall not be elected deputies, even if they have been pardoned.

Judges and prosecutors, members of the higher judicial organs, members of the teaching staff at institutions of higher education, members of the Higher Education Council, employees of public institutions and agencies who have the status of civil servants, other public employees not regarded as labourers on account of the duties they perform, and members of the Armed Forces shall not stand for election or be eligible to be a deputy unless they resign from office.

C. Election Term of the Turkish Grand National Assembly

ARTICLE 77. Elections for the Turkish Grand National Assembly shall be held every five years.

The Assembly may decide to hold a new election before the termination of this period, and new elections may also be decided upon according to a decision, taken in accordance with the conditions set forth in the Constitution, by the President of the Republic. A deputy whose term of office expires may be eligible for re-election.

In the event of a decision to hold new elections, the powers of the Assembly shall continue until the election of a new Assembly.

D. Deferment of Elections to the Turkish Grand National Assembly, and By-elections

ARTICLE 78. (As amended on December 12, 2002 – Article 4777/2)

If the holding of new elections is found impossible because of war, the Turkish Grand National Assembly may decide to defer elections for a year.

If the grounds for deferment do not disappear this measure may be repeated under the procedure for deferment.

By-elections shall be held when vacancies arise in the membership of the Turkish Grand National Assembly. By-elections shall be held once in every election term and cannot be held until 30 months have elapsed from the date of the previous general elections. However, in cases where the number of vacant seats reaches five percent of the total number of seats, by- elections shall be held within three months.

By-elections shall not be held within one year before general elections.

Apart from the above-specified situations, if a city or district lacks representation in Parliament, a by-election shall be held on the first Sunday, 90 days following creation of the vacancy. In elections held per this paragraph, paragraph 3 of Article 127 of the Constitution shall not apply.

E. General Administration and Supervision of Elections

ARTICLE 79. Elections shall be held under the general administration and supervision of the judicial organs.

The Supreme Election Council shall execute all the functions to ensure the fair and orderly conduct of the elections from the beginning to the end of polling, carry out investigations and take final decisions on all irregularities, complaints and objections concerning the elections during and after the polling, and verify the election returns of the members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly. No appeal shall be made to any authority against the decisions of the Supreme Election Council.

The functions and powers of the Supreme Election Council and other election councils shall be determined by law.

The Supreme Election Council shall be composed of seven regular members and four substitutes. Six of the members shall be elected by the Plenary Assembly of the High Court of Appeals, and five members shall be elected by the Plenary Assembly of the Council of State from amongst its own members, by secret ballot and by an absolute majority of the total number of members. These members shall elect a Chairman and a Vice-Chairman from amongst themselves, by absolute majority and secret ballot.

Amongst the members elected to the Supreme Election Council by the High Court of Appeals and by the Council of State, two members from each group shall be designated, by lot, as substitute members. The Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Supreme Election Council shall not take part in this procedure.

The general conduct and supervision of a referendum on legislation amending the Constitution shall be subject to the same provisions as those relating to the election of deputies.

F. Provisions Relating to Membership

1. Representing the Nation

ARTICLE 80. Members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly represent, not merely their own constituencies or constituents, but the Nation as a whole.

2. Oath-Taking

ARTICLE 81. Members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, on assuming office, shall take the following oath:

”I swear upon my honour and integrity, before the great Turkish Nation, to safeguard the existence and independence of the state, the indivisible integrity of the Country and the Nation, and the absolute sovereignty of the Nation; to remain loyal to the supremacy of law, to the democratic and secular Republic, and to Atatürk’s principles and reforms; not to deviate from the ideal according to which everyone is entitled to enjoy human rights and fundamental freedoms under peace and prosperity in society, national solidarity and justice, and loyalty to the Constitution.”

3. Activities Incompatible with Membership

ARTICLE 82. Members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly shall not hold office in state departments and other public corporate bodies and their subsidiaries; in corporations and enterprises affiliated with the state and other public corporate bodies; in the executive or supervisory organs of enterprises and corporations where there is direct or indirect participation of the state and public corporate bodies, in the executive and supervisory organs of public benefit associations, whose special resources of revenue and privileges are provided by law; in the executive and supervisory organs of foundations which enjoy tax exemption and receive financial subsidies from the state; and in the executive and supervisory organs of labour unions and public professional organisations, and in the enterprises and corporations in which the above-mentioned unions and associations or their higher bodies have a share; nor can they be appointed as representatives of the above-mentioned bodies or be party to a business contract, directly or indirectly, and be arbitrators of representatives in their business transactions.

Members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly shall not be entrusted with any official or private duties involving recommendation, appointment, or approval by the executive organ. Acceptance by a deputy of a temporary assignment given by the Council of Ministers on a specific matter, and not exceeding a period of six months, is subject to the approval of the Assembly.

Other functions and activities incompatible with membership in the Turkish Grand National Assembly shall be regulated by law.

4. Parliamentary Immunity

ARTICLE 83. Members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly shall not be liable for their votes and statements concerning parliamentary functions, for the views they express before the Assembly, or unless the Assembly decides otherwise on the proposal of the Bureau for that sitting, for repeating or revealing these outside the Assembly.

A deputy who is alleged to have committed an offence before or after election, shall not be arrested, interrogated, detained or tried unless the Assembly decides otherwise. This provision shall not apply in cases where a member is caught in the act of committing a crime punishable by a heavy penalty and in cases subject to Article 14 of the Constitution if an investigation has been initiated before the election. However, in such situations the competent authority shall notify the Turkish Grand National Assembly immediately and directly.

The execution of a criminal sentence imposed on a member of the Turkish Grand National Assembly either before or after his election shall be suspended until he ceases to be a member; the statute of limitations does not apply during the term of membership.

Investigation and prosecution of a re-elected deputy shall be subject to whether or not the Assembly lifts immunity in the case of the individual involved.

Political party groups in the Turkish Grand National Assembly shall not hold discussions or take decisions regarding parliamentary immunity.

5. Loss of Membership

ARTICLE 84. (As amended on July 23, 1995)

The loss of membership of a deputy who has resigned shall be decided upon by the plenary of the Turkish Grand National Assembly after the Bureau of the Turkish Grand National Assembly attests to the validity of the resignation.

The loss of membership, through a final judicial sentence or deprivation of legal capacity, shall take effect after the final court decision in the matter has been communicated to the plenary of the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

The loss of membership of a deputy who insists on holding a position or continues an activity incompatible with membership according to Article 82, shall be decided by a secret plenary vote, upon the submission of a report drawn up by the authorized commission setting out the factual situation.

Loss of membership by a deputy who fails to attend without excuse or permission, five meetings in a period of one month shall be decided by an absolute majority of the total number of members after the Bureau of the Turkish Grand National Assembly determines the situation.

The membership of a deputy whose statements and acts are cited in a final judgment by the Constitutional Court as having caused the permanent dissolution of his party shall terminate on the date when the decision in question and its justifications are published in the Official Gazette. The speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly shall immediately take the necessary action concerning such decision and shall inform the plenary of the Turkish Grand National Assembly accordingly.

6. Application for Annulment

ARTICLE 85. (As amended on July 23, 1995)

If the parliamentary immunity of a deputy has been waived or if the loss of membership has been decided according to the first, third or fourth paragraphs of Article 84, the deputy in question or another deputy may, within seven days from the day of the decision of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, appeal to the Constitutional Court, for the decision to be annulled on the grounds that it is contrary to the Constitution, law or the rules or procedure of the Turkish Grand National Assembly. The Constitutional Court shall decide on the appeal within fifteen days.

7. Salaries and Allowances

Article 86. (As amended on November 30, 2001)

The salaries, allowances and retirement arrangements of the members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly shall be regulated by law. The monthly amount of the salary shall not exceed the salary of the most senior civil servant; the travel allowance shall not exceed half of that salary. The members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly and its retirees are affiliated with the Pension Fund of the Turkish Republic, and the affiliation of those continue upon their will in case of their membership expires.

The salaries and allowances paid to the members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly shall not necessitate the suspension of payments of pensions and similar benefits by the Pension Fund of the Turkish Republic.

A maximum of three months’ salaries and allowances may be paid in advance.

II. Functions and Powers of the Turkish Grand National Assembly

A. General Provisions

ARTICLE 87. (As amended on October 17, 2001)

The functions and powers of the Turkish Grand National Assembly comprise the enactment, amendment, and repeal of laws; the supervision of the Council of Ministers and the Ministers; authorisation of the Council of Ministers to issue governmental decrees having the force of law on certain matters; debating and approval of the budget draft and the draft law of the final accounts, making decisions regarding the printing of currency and declaration of war; ratifying international agreements, deciding with the three fifth’s of the Turkish Grand National Assembly on the proclamation of amnesties and pardons of the Constitution; confirming death sentences passed down by the courts; and exercising the powers and executing the functions envisaged in the other articles of the Constitution.

B. Proposal and Debate of Laws

ARTICLE 88. The Council of Ministers and deputies are empowered to introduce laws.

The procedure and principles relating to the debating of draft bills and proposals of law in the Turkish Grand National Assembly shall be regulated by the Rules of Procedure.

C. Promulgation of Laws by the President of the Republic

ARTICLE 89. (As amended on October 17, 2001)

The President of the Republic shall promulgate the laws adopted by the Turkish Grand National Assembly within fifteen days.

He shall, within the same period, refer to the Turkish Grand National Assembly for further consideration, laws which he deems wholly or in part or unsuitable for promulgation, together with a statement of his reasons. In the event of being deemed unsuitable by the President, the Turkish Grand National Assembly may only discuss those articles deemed to be unsuitable. Budget laws shall not be subjected to this provision.

Provisions relating to Constitutional amendments are reserved.

D. Ratification of International Treaties

ARTICLE 90. The ratification of treaties concluded with foreign states and international organisations on behalf of the Republic of Turkey, shall be subject to adoption by the Turkish Grand National Assembly by a law approving the ratification.

Agreements regulating economic, commercial and technical relations, and covering a period of no more than one year, may be put into effect through promulgation, provided they do not entail any financial commitment by the state, and provided they do not infringe upon the status of individuals or upon the property rights of Turkish citizens abroad. In such cases, these agreements must be brought to the knowledge of the Turkish Grand National Assembly within two months of their promulgation.

Agreements in connection with the implementation of an international treaty, and economic, commercial, technical, or administrative agreements which are concluded depending on an authorisation given by law shall not require approval by the Turkish Grand National Assembly. However, agreements concluded under the provision of this paragraph and affecting the economic, or commercial relations and private rights of individuals shall not be put into effect unless promulgated.

Agreements resulting in amendments to Turkish laws shall be subject to the provisions of the first paragraph.

International agreements duly put into effect carry the force of law. No appeal to the Constitutional Court can be made with regard to these agreements, on the ground that they are unconstitutional.

E. Authorisation to Enact Decrees Having the Force of Law

ARTICLE 91. The Turkish Grand National Assembly may empower the Council of Ministers to issue decrees having the force of law. However, the fundamental rights, individual rights and duties included in the First and Second Chapter of the Second Part of the Constitution and the political rights and duties listed in the Fourth Chapter, cannot be regulated by decrees having the force of law except during periods of martial law and states of emergency.

The empowering law shall define the purpose, scope, principles, and operative period of the decree having the force of law, and whether more than one decree will be issued within the same period.

Resignation or fall of the Council of Ministers, or expiration of the legislative term shall not cause the termination of the power conferred for the given period.

When approving a decree having the force of law before the end of the prescribed period, the Turkish Grand National Assembly shall also state whether the power has terminated or will continue until the expiry of the said period.

Provisions relating to the decrees having the force of law issued by the Council of Ministers meeting under the chairmanship of the President of the Republic in time of martial law or states of emergency, are reserved.

Decrees having the force of law shall come into force on the day of their publication in the Official Gazette. However, a later date may be indicated in the decree as the date of entry into force.

Decrees are submitted to the Turkish Grand National Assembly on the day of their publication in the Official Gazette.

Laws of empowering and decrees having the force of law which are based on these, shall be discussed in the committees and in the plenary sessions of the Turkish Grand National Assembly with priority and urgency.

Decrees not submitted to the Turkish Grand National Assembly on the day of their publication shall cease to have effect on that day and decrees rejected by the Turkish Grand National Assembly shall cease to have effect on the day of publication of the decision in the Official Gazette. The amended provisions of the decrees which are approved as amended shall go into force on the day of their publication in the Official Gazette.

F. Declaration of State of War and Authorisation to Deploy the Armed Forces

ARTICLE 92. The Power to authorise the declaration of a state of war in cases deemed legitimate by international law and except where required by international treaties to which Turkey is a party or by the rules of international courtesy to send Turkish Armed Forces to foreign countries and to allow foreign armed forces to be stationed in Turkey, is vested in the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

If the country is subjected, while the Turkish Grand National Assembly is adjourned or in recess, to sudden armed aggression and it thus becomes imperative to decide immediately on the deployment of the armed forces, the President of the Republic can decide on the mobilization of the Turkish Armed Forces.

III. Provisions Relating to the Activities of the Turkish Grand National Assembly A. Convening and Adjournment

ARTICLE 93. (As amended on July 23, 1995)

The Turkish Grand National Assembly shall convene of its own accord on the first day of October each year.

The Assembly may be in recess for a maximum of three months in the course of a legislative year. During adjournment or recess it may be summoned by the President of the Republic either on his own initiative or at the request of the Council of Ministers.

The Speaker of the Assembly may also summon the Assembly either on his own initiative or at the written request of one fifth of the members.

If the Turkish Grand National Assembly is convened during an adjournment or recess, it shall not adjourn or go into recess again before having given priority consideration to the matter requiring the summons.

B. Bureau of the Assembly

ARTICLE 94. (As amended on October 17, 2001)

The Bureau of the Assembly of the Turkish Grand National Assembly shall be composed of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker, Secretary Members, and Administrative Members elected from among the Assembly members.

The Bureau of the Assembly shall be so composed as to ensure proportionate representation to the number of members of each political party group in the Assembly. Political party groups shall not nominate candidates for the Office of the Speaker.

Two elections to the Bureau of the Turkish Grand National Assembly shall be held in the course of one legislative term. The term of office of those elected in the first round is two years and the term of office of those elected in the second round is three years.

The candidates from among the members of the Assembly for the Office of the Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly shall be announced, within five days of the convening of the Assembly, to the Bureau of the Assembly. Election of the Speaker shall be held by secret ballot. In the first two ballots, a two-thirds majority of the total number of members, and in the third ballot an absolute majority of the total number of members is required. If an absolute majority cannot be obtained in the third ballot a fourth ballot shall be held between the two candidates who have received the highest number of votes in the third ballot; the member who receives the greatest number of votes in the fourth ballot shall be elected Speaker. The election of the Speaker shall be completed within five days of the expiry of the period for the nomination of candidates.

The quorum required for election, the number of ballots and its procedure, the number of Deputy Speakers, Secretary Members and Administrative Members, shall be stipulated by the Assembly Rules of Procedure.

The Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly cannot participate in the activities of the political party or party group in which they are a member, nor in debates, within or outside the Assembly, except in cases required by their functions; the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker who is presiding over the session shall not vote.

C. Rules of Procedure, Political Party Groups and Security Affairs

ARTICLE 95. The Grand National Assembly of Turkey shall carry out its activities in accordance with the provisions of the Rules of Procedure drawn up by itself.

The provisions of the Rules of Procedure shall be drawn up in such a way as to ensure the participation of each political party group in all the activities of the Assembly in proportion to its number of members, political party groups shall be constituted only if they have at least twenty members.

All security and administrative services of the Turkish Grand National Assembly regarding all buildings, installations, annexes and grounds shall be organised and directed by the Office of the Speaker of the Assembly.

Sufficient forces to ensure security and other such services shall be allocated to the Office of the Speaker of the Assembly by the relevant authorities.

D. Quorums Required for Sessions and Decisions

ARTICLE 96. Unless otherwise stipulated in the Constitution, the Turkish Grand National Assembly shall convene with at least, one-third of the total number of members and shall take decisions by an absolute majority of those present; however, the quorum for decisions can, under no circumstances, be less than a quarter plus one of the total number of members.

Members of the Council of Ministers may delegate a minister to vote on their behalf in sessions of the Turkish Grand National Assembly which they are unable to attend. However, a minister shall not cast more than two votes including his or her own.

E. Publicity and Publication of Debates

ARTICLE 97. Debates held in the plenary session of the Turkish Grand National Assembly shall be public and shall be published verbatim in the Journal of Records.

The Turkish Grand National Assembly may hold closed sessions in accordance with the provisions of its Rules of Procedure; the publication of debates of such sessions shall be subject to the decision of the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

Public proceedings of the Assembly may be freely published through all means, unless a decision to the contrary is adopted by the Assembly upon a proposal of the Bureau of the Assembly.

IV. Ways of Collecting Information and Supervision by the Turkish Grand National Assembly

A. General Provisions

ARTICLE 98. The Turkish Grand National Assembly shall exercise its supervisory power by means of questions, parliamentary inquiries, general debates, motions of censure and parliamentary investigations. A question is a request for information addressed to the Prime Minister or ministers to be answered orally or in writing on behalf of the Council of Ministers.

A parliamentary inquiry is an examination conducted to obtain information on a specific subject.

A general debate is the consideration of a specific subject relating to the community and the activities of the state at the plenary sessions of the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

The form of presentation, content, and scope of the motions concerning questions, parliamentary inquiries and general debates, and the procedures for answering, debating and investigating them, shall be regulated by the Rules of Procedure.

B. Motions of Censure

ARTICLE 99. A motion of censure may be tabled either on behalf of a political party group, or by the signature of at least twenty deputies.

A motion of censure shall be circulated in printed form to members within three days of its being tabled; inclusion of a motion of censure on the agenda shall be debated within ten days of its circulation. In this debate, only one of the signatories to the motion, one deputy from each political party group, and the Prime Minister or one minister on behalf of the Council of Ministers, may take the floor.

Together with the decision to include the motion of censure on the agenda, the date for debating it will also be decided; however, the debate shall not take place less than two days after the decision to place it on the agenda and shall not be deferred more than seven days.

In the course of the debate on the motion of censure, a motion of no-confidence with a statement of reasons tabled by deputies or party groups, or the request for a vote of confidence by the Council of Ministers, shall be put to the vote only after a full day has elapsed.

In order to unseat the Council of Ministers or a minister, an absolute majority of the total number of members shall be required in the voting, in which only the votes of no-confidence shall be counted.

Other provisions concerning motions of censure, provided that they are consistent with the smooth functioning of the Assembly, and do not conflict with the above-mentioned principles are detailed in the Rules of Procedure.

C. Parliamentary Investigation

ARTICLE 100. (As amended on October 17, 2001)

Parliamentary investigation concerning the Prime Minister or other ministers may be requested through a motion tabled by at least one-tenth of the total number of members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly. The Assembly shall consider and decide on this request with a secret ballot within one month at the latest.

In the event of a decision to initiate an investigation, this investigation shall be conducted by a commission of fifteen members chosen by lot on behalf of each party from among three times the number of members the party is entitled to have on the commission, representation being proportional to the parliamentary membership of the party. The commission shall submit its report on the result of the investigation to the Assembly within two months. If the investigation is not completed within the time allotted, the commission shall be granted a further and final period of two months. At the end of this period, the report shall be submitted to the Office of the Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly.

Following its submission to the Office of the Speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly, the report shall be distributed to the members within ten days and debated within ten days after its distribution and if necessary, a decision may be taken to bring the person involved before the Supreme Court. The decision to bring a person before the Supreme Court shall be taken by a secret ballot only by an absolute majority of the total number of members.

Political party groups in the Assembly shall not hold discussions or take decisions regarding parliamentary investigations.


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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