Secularism in Turkey
Secularism in Turkey defines the relationship between religion and state in the country of Turkey. Secularism was first introduced with the 1928 amendment of the Constitution of 1924, which removed the provision declaring that the "Religion of the State is Islam", with the reforms of Turkey's first president Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, which set the administrative and political requirements to create a modern, secular state, aligned with Kemalism. Nine years after its introduction, laïcité was explicitly stated in the second article of the Turkish constitution on February 5, 1937; the current Constitution of 1982 promotes any. The principle of Turkish secularism, more to the separation between state and religion and Atatürk as a Turkish intellectual "sought" secularism as a principle of state modernization and progressive ideas which included not only political and government life but the social and cultural environment of society, still dominated by superstition and ignorance. Unlike other definitions of secularism where it means separation between church and state, in Turkey the term laiklik denotes state control and legal regulation of religion.
Turkey's "laïcité" calls for the separation of religion and the state, but describes the state's stance as one of "active neutrality". Turkey's actions related with religion are analyzed and evaluated through the Presidency of Religious Affairs; the duties of the Presidency of Religious Affairs are "to execute the works concerning the beliefs and ethics of Islam, enlighten the public about their religion, administer the sacred worshipping places". The history of secularism in Turkey extends to the Tanzimat reforms of Ottoman Empire; the second peak in secularism occurred during the Second Constitutional Era. The current form was achieved by Atatürk's Reforms; the establishing structure of the Ottoman Empire was an Islamic state in which the head of the Ottoman state was the Sultan. The social system was organized around millet. Millet structure allowed a great degree of religious and ethnic continuity to non-Muslim populations across the subdivisions of the Ottoman Empire and at the same time it permitted their incorporation into the Ottoman administrative and political system.
The Ottoman-appointed governor collected taxes and provided security, while the local religious or cultural matters were left to the regional communities to decide. On the other hand, the sultans were Muslims and the laws that bound them were based on the Sharia, the body of Islamic law, as well as various cultural customs; the Sultan, beginning in 1517, was a caliph, the leader of all the Sunni Muslims in the world. By the turn of the 19th century the Ottoman ruling elite recognized the need to restructure the legislative and judiciary systems to cope with their new political rivals in Europe; when the millet system started to lose its efficiency due to the rise of nationalism within its borders, the Ottoman Empire explored new ways of governing its territory composed of diverse populations. Sultan Selim III founded the first secular military schools by establishing the new military unit, Nizam-ı Cedid, as early as 1792; however the last century of the Ottoman Empire had many far reaching reforms.
These reforms peaked with the Tanzimat, the initial reform era of the Ottoman Empire. After the Tanzimat, such as those relating to the equalized status of non-Muslim citizens, the establishment of a parliament, the abandonment of medieval punishments for apostasy, as well as the codification of the constitution of the empire and the rights of Ottoman subjects were established; the First World War brought about the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent partitioning of the Ottoman Empire by the victorious Allies. Therefore, the Republic of Turkey was a nation-state built as a result of an empire lost. During the establishment of the Republic, there were two sections of the elite group at the helm of the discussions for the future; these were Westerners. They shared the modernization of the new state. Many basic goals were common to both groups; the founder of the modern Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's achievement was to amplify this common ground and put the country on a fast track of reforms, now known as Atatürk's Reforms.
Their first act was to give the Turkish nation the right to exercise popular sovereignty via representative democracy. Prior to declaring the new Republic, the Turkish Grand National Assembly abolished the constitutional monarchy on November 1, 1922; the Turkish Grand National Assembly moved to replace the extant Islamic law structure with the laws it had passed during the Turkish War of Independence, beginning in 1919. The modernization of the Law had begun at the point that the project was undertaken in earnest. A milestone in this process was the passage of the Turkish Constitution of 1921. Upon the establishment of the Republic on October 29, 1923, the institution of the caliphate remained, but the passage of a new constitution in 1924 abolished this title held by the Ottoman Sultanate since 1517; as the new constitution eliminated the caliphate it, at the same time, declared Islam as the official religion of the Turkish Republic. The caliphate's powers within Turkey were transferred to the National Assembly and the title has since been inactive.
The Turkish Republic does in theory still retain the right to reinstate the caliphate, should it elect to do so. Following upon these developments, a number of social reforms were undertaken. Many of these r
Speaker of the Grand National Assembly
This article lists the Speakers of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey. The name of the parliament of the Republic of Turkey and the Grand National Assembly of Turkey since its establishment on 23 April 1920, has for short periods been changed. A Senate existed besides the National Assembly between 1960 and 1980. Senate of the RepublicList of Chairmen of the Senate of Turkey Grand National Assembly of Turkey official website Turkish ministries, etc – Rulers.org
2017 Turkish constitutional referendum
A constitutional referendum was held throughout Turkey on 16 April 2017 on whether to approve 18 proposed amendments to the Turkish constitution that were brought forward by the governing Justice and Development Party and the Nationalist Movement Party. If approved, the office of the Prime Minister would be abolished and the existing parliamentary system of government would be replaced with an executive presidency and a presidential system; the number of seats in Parliament was proposed to be raised from 550 to 600 while the president was proposed to be given more control over appointments to the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors. The referendum was held under a state of emergency, declared following a failed military coup attempt in July 2016. Early results indicated a 51–49% lead for the "Yes" vote. In an unprecedented move, the Supreme Electoral Council allowed non-stamped ballots to be accepted as valid; some opposers to the reform decried this move to be illegal, claiming that as many as 1.5 million ballots were unstamped, refused to recognize the results.
Large-scale protests erupted following the results. In subsequent reports, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe both criticised unfairness during the campaign and declared the YSK's decision to be illegal. An executive presidency has been a long-standing proposal of the governing AKP and its founder, the current President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. In October 2016, the Nationalist Movement Party announced its co-operation for producing draft proposals with the government, with the combined support of both AKP and MHP MPs being sufficient to put forward the proposals to a referendum following a parliamentary vote in January; those in favour of a'Yes' vote argued that the changes were necessary for a strong and stable Turkey, arguing that an executive presidency would bring about an end to unstable coalition governments that had dominated Turkish politics since the 1960s up until 2002. The'No' campaign have argued that the proposals would concentrate too much power in the hands of the President dismantling the separation of powers and taking legislative authority away from Parliament.
Critics argued that the proposed system would resemble an'elected dictatorship' with no ability to hold the executive to account, leading to a'democratic suicide' and autocracy. Three days before the referendum, one of Erdoğan's aides called for a federal system should the'Yes' vote prevail, causing a backlash from the pro-Yes MHP. Both sides of the campaign have been accused of using divisive and extreme rhetoric, with Erdoğan accusing all'No' voters of being terrorists siding with the plotters of the failed 2016 coup; the campaign was marred by allegations of state suppression against'No' campaigners, while the'Yes' campaign were able to make use of state facilities and funding to organise rallies and campaign events. Leading members of the'No' campaign, which included many high-profile former members of the MHP such as Meral Akşener, Ümit Özdağ, Sinan Oğan, Yusuf Halaçoğlu were all subject to both violence and campaign restrictions. The'Yes' campaign were faced with campaigning restrictions by several European countries, with the German, Dutch and Swiss governments all cancelling or requesting the suspension of'Yes' campaign events directed at Turkish voters living abroad.
The restrictions caused a sharp deterioration in diplomatic relations and caused a diplomatic crisis between Turkey and the Netherlands. Concerns were raised about voting irregularities, with'Yes' voters in Germany being caught attempting to vote more than once and being found to have been in possession of ballot papers before the overseas voting process had started. European election monitors said. Introducing a presidential system was proposed by then-Minister of Justice Cemil Çiçek and backed by then-Prime Minister Erdoğan in 2005. Since the current presidential system has been supported by Justice and Development Party leaders several times, along with a "new constitution". Justice and Development Party vice-president Hayati Yazıcı proposed April 2017 as a date for the referendum. On 10 December 2016, the AKP and MHP brought forward a total of 21 proposed amendments to the constitution and began collecting signatures from MPs in order to begin the parliamentary procedures for initiating a referendum.
After Assembly Commission talks, 3 proposals were withdrawn. The full-text proposal in Turkish and the present Turkish constitution are found at the following links; the most important changes have been highlighted by the Union of Turkish Bar Associations. An English-language summary and interpretation of the 18 amendments is listed in the table below. Notes After being signed by the AKP's 316 MPs, the 21 proposed changes were submitted to the Speaker of the Grand National Assembly and were referred to the Parliamentary Constitutional Commission; the Parliamentary Constitutional Commission, headed by AKP MP Mustafa Şentop, began scrutinising the proposals in December 2016, earlier than the planned date of January 2017. The Constitutional Commission is formed of 25 Members of which 15 are from the AKP, 5 are from the CHP, 3 are from the HDP and 2 are from the MHP, as per the composition of parliament. Since the AKP held a large majority of the commission's seats, it was expected by media commentators that there would be minimal surprise developments at the scrutiny stage.
Debates in the commission were heated, with occasional fights being observed between MPs. The Constitutional Commission has the power to amend or reject the proposed changes before they
June 2015 Turkish general election
The Turkish general election of June 2015 took place on 7 June 2015 in all 85 electoral districts of Turkey to elect 550 members to the Grand National Assembly. This was the 24th general election in the history of the Turkish Republic, electing the country's 25th Parliament; the result was the first hung parliament since the 1999 general election. Unsuccessful attempts to form a coalition government resulted in a snap general election being called for November 2015; the Justice and Development Party, which had governed Turkey since 2002, lost its parliamentary majority and won 258 seats with 40.9% of the vote. The main opposition Republican People's Party fared worse than their 2011 result, won 132 seats with 25.0% of the vote. The Nationalist Movement Party had been projected to win over many disaffected voters from the AKP, its share of the vote increased, the party won 80 seats with 16.3% of the vote. The new Peoples' Democratic Party decided to contest the election as a party rather than fielding candidates as independents, despite concerns that it could have fallen below the 10% election threshold and lose all representation in Parliament.
The party fared better than expectations: it won 13.1% of the vote and took 80 seats, the same as the MHP. The potential for a hung parliament had been considered and predicted before the election so the country and politicians were better prepared for the constitutional process that would follow such a result. Campaigning before the election focused on a faltering economy, the political conflict between the government and the Gülen Movement, Turkey's involvement in the Syrian Civil War. Growing allegations of government corruption and authoritarianism originating from the 2013 corruption scandal and the 2013 Gezi Park protests were part of the issues and developments raised during the opposition campaigns; the vote was seen by some as a referendum on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's call for an executive presidency. Electoral fraud claims and political violence caused controversy in the run-up to the election. Several candidates and party offices were subject to politically motivated attacks, culminating in the death of four HDP supporters after two bombs exploded during a rally in Diyarbakır on 5 June.
The interference of President Erdoğan, accused of covertly campaigning for the AKP under the guise of'public opening' rallies, was controversial since the President is constitutionally required to exercise political neutrality. Despite fraud claims dating back to the hugely controversial 2014 local elections and numerous claims of misconduct on polling day, the election was praised by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe for being well-organised and was declared free and fair by the European Parliament; the governing Justice and Development Party sought a fourth consecutive term in government. Its leader, Ahmet Davutoğlu, who had taken over from Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in August 2014, sought a full term as Prime Minister of Turkey in his own right; the AKP's goal was to win more than 330 seats in order to have the right to put constitutional changes to a referendum, or more ideally 367 seats to bypass a referendum and change the constitution directly within parliament. The Republican People's Party aimed to surpass the 30% boundary and to form a government with the help of smaller parties or in its own right.
The CHP's leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu had publicly stated that his party would target 35% of the vote, a rise of 9% from its 2011 result, in order to be able to form the next government. Popular support for the Nationalist Movement Party had surged during the 2014 local elections, it aimed to participate in a coalition government. However, several politicians from the CHP and MHP resigned in protest against their unrealistic electoral prospects, formed their own parties; the most prominent break-away party was the Anatolia Party formed by former CHP MP Emine Ülker Tarhan in November 2014. Other significant factors that opposition parties would need to overcome were issues such as media bias and electoral fraud, both of which increased in the preceding local and presidential elections; this election is the last election - presidential and general - scheduled in Turkey until 2019. Arguments as to whether this is by chance, or whether it was planned by the Justice and Development Party government when they proposed to reduce the parliamentary terms from five years to four in the 2007 constitutional referendum, are still ongoing.
Speculation as to what the AKP government will do during four years of electorally unchecked power should they win generated both favourable predictions and concerns. While four years without elections may allow the government to undertake widespread necessary economic reforms, critics of the AKP argue that it is an opportunity to further erode the diminishing checks and balances and separation of powers in the Turkish political and legal systems; the AKP support a presidential system, which would give greater powers to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The AKP government had proposed to hold an early general election in November 2014 if their candidate Recep Tayyip Erdoğan won the 2014 presidential election due to opinion polls predicting a comfortable victory for Erdoğan in the first round; this would allow the AKP's new leader to seek an electoral mandate in their own right rather than serving the remainder of Erdoğan's term before seeking re-election. Although Erdoğan did win outright with 51.79% of the vote, his popular vote share was below what opinion polls predicted.
The presidential election results, according to several political commentators and journalists reduced the possibility of
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is a Turkish politician serving as the 12th and current President of Turkey since 2014. He served as Prime Minister from 2003 to 2014 and as Mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998, he founded the Justice and Development Party in 2001, leading it to general election victories in 2002, 2007 and 2011 before standing down upon his election as President in 2014. Coming from an Islamist political background and as a self-described conservative democrat, he has promoted conservative and liberal economic policies in his administration. Under his administration, Turkey has experienced democratic backsliding. Erdoğan played football for Kasımpaşa before being elected in 1994 as the Mayor of Istanbul from the Islamist Welfare Party, he was stripped of his position, banned from political office, imprisoned for four months, for reciting a poem that promoted a religious point of view of government during a speech in 1998. Erdoğan abandoned Islamist politics and established the moderate conservative AKP in 2001.
Following the AKP's landslide victory in 2002, the party's co-founder Abdullah Gül became Prime Minister, until his government annulled Erdoğan's ban from political office. Erdoğan became Prime Minister in March 2003 after winning a by-election in Siirt. Erdoğan's government oversaw negotiations for Turkey's membership in the European Union, an economic recovery following a financial crash in 2001, changes to the constitution via referenda in 2007 and 2010, a Neo-Ottoman foreign policy, investments in infrastructure including roads, a high-speed train network, the Turkish currency and debt crisis of 2018. With the help of the Cemaat Movement led by preacher Fethullah Gülen, Erdoğan was able to curb the power of the military through the Sledgehammer and Ergenekon court cases. In late 2012, his government began peace negotiations with the Kurdistan Workers Party to end the ongoing PKK insurgency that began in 1978; the ceasefire broke down in 2015. In 2016, a coup d'état was unsuccessfully attempted against Turkish state institutions.
This was followed by an ongoing state of emergency. Political scientists no longer consider Turkey as a fledged democracy, citing the lack of free and fair elections and jailing of opponents, curtailed press freedom, Erdoğan's efforts to broaden his executive powers and minimize his executive accountability. Widespread 2013 protests broke out against the perceived authoritarianism of Erdoğan's policies; this stalled negotiations related to EU membership. Following a split with Gülen, Erdoğan promulgated sweeping judicial reforms he insisted were needed to purge Gülen's sympathisers, but which were criticised for threatening judicial independence. A US$100 billion corruption scandal in 2013 led to the arrests of Erdoğan's close allies, incriminated Erdoğan, his government has since come under fire for alleged human rights violations and crackdown on press and social media, having blocked access to Wikipedia, Twitter and YouTube on numerous occasions. Erdoğan's government lifted the bans when directed by court orders, but reimposed them.
In 2016, Turkey under Erdoğan began a crackdown on freedom of the press. He was re-elected in the 2018 general election and assumed the role of Executive President and became both the head of state and head of government. Erdoğan was born in the Kasımpaşa neighborhood in Istanbul, to which his family had moved from Rize Province, his parents were Tenzile Erdoğan. In August 2003 during his official visit in Tbilisi, Erdoğan explained his Georgian roots, he told the story of his Adjarian forefathers, which migrated after the Russo-Turkish War from Batumi to Rize. According to journalistic investigation held by OdaTV in 2009, his grandfather's nickname "Bakatalı" is claimed to be originating from the village of Bagata, today in the Tskhinvali District of South Ossetia. Georgians in Turkey are Muslims, who had arrived during Ottoman times in several waves of migration from Caucasus, due to the Russo-Turkish Wars; however in a 2014 televised interview on the NTV news network, he said, "You wouldn't believe the things they have said about me.
They have said I am Georgian... forgive me for saying this... much uglier things, they have called me an Armenian, but I am Turkish."Erdoğan spent his early childhood in Rize, where his father was a Captain in the Turkish Coast Guard. Erdoğan had a brother sister Vesile, his summer holidays were spent in Güneysu, where his family originates. Throughout his life he returned to this spiritual home, in 2015 he opened a vast mosque on a mountaintop near this village; the family returned to Istanbul. As a teenager, he sold lemonade and sesame buns on the streets of the city's rougher districts to earn extra money. Brought up in an observant Muslim family, Erdoğan graduated from Kasımpaşa Piyale primary school in 1965, İmam Hatip school, a religious vocational high school, in 1973, he received his high school diploma from Eyüp High School. According to his official biography, he subsequently studied Business Administration at the Aksaray School of Economics and Commercial Sciences, now known as Marmara University's Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences — although several Turkis
Electoral system of Turkey
The Electoral system of Turkey varies for general and local elections that take place in Turkey every four years, five years and five years respectively. Turkey has been a multi-party democracy since 1950, with the first democratic election held on 14 May 1950 leading to the end of the single-party rule established in 1923; the current electoral system for electing Members of Parliament to the Grand National Assembly has a 10% election threshold, the highest of any country. A brief summary of the electoral systems used for each type of election is as follows: General elections: The D'Hondt method, a party-list proportional representation system, to elect 600 Members of Parliament to the Grand National Assembly from 87 electoral districts that elect different numbers of MPs depending on their populations. Local elections: Metropolitan and District Mayors and Provincial Councillors, neighbourhood presidents and their village councils elected through a First-past-the-post system, with the winning candidate in each municipality elected by a simple majority.
Presidential elections: A Two-round system, with the top two candidates contesting a run-off election two weeks after the initial election should no candidate win at least 50%+1 of the popular vote. Turkey elects 600 Members of Parliament to the Grand National Assembly using the D'Hondt method, a party-list proportional representation system. In order to return MPs to parliament, a party needs to gain more than 10% of the vote nationwide, meaning that parties may win the most votes in certain areas but not win any MPs due to a low result overall; the parliamentary threshold of 10% has been subject to intense scrutiny by opposition members, since all votes cast for parties polling under 10% are spoilt and allow the parties overcoming the national threshold to win more seats than correspond to their share of votes. E.g. in the 2002 general election the AKP won 34.28% of the vote but won nearly two-thirds of the seats. The parliamentary threshold does not apply to independents, meaning that Kurdish nationalist politicians who poll in the south-east but are not able to win 10% of the overall vote stand as independents rather than as a party candidate.
This was the case in the 2007 and 2011 general election, where the Kurdish Democratic Society Party and the Peace and Democracy Party fielded independent candidates respectively. The main criticism of the current system is the high 10% threshold necessary to gain seats. In January 2015, the CHP renewed their parliamentary proposals to lower the threshold to 3% and proposed no changes to the proportional representation system, though the AKP are against lowering the threshold without wider electoral reform. In July 2013, the AKP prepared new proposals, named the'narrow district system', to change the proportional representation system into either a first-past-the-post system or create smaller constituencies which elect a fewer number of MPs. Under these proposals, the threshold would fall from 10% to either 7 or 8% while Turkey would be split into 129 electoral districts rather than the existing 85. İstanbul itself would have been split into 17 or 20 districts. The system will benefit the largest party as well as parties that are the strongest in certain regions, meaning that the AKP and Kurdish nationalist Peace and Democracy Party would make the biggest gains.
The two main opposition parties CHP and MHP do not have a substantial number of electoral strongholds, meaning that they would be negatively impacted by a narrow-district system. Proposals by the AKP to create a full first-past-the-post system with 550 single-member constituencies were unveiled in December 2014, though any change in electoral law would have to be passed by parliament at least a year before the election; the AKP's proposals for reform have raised concerns about gerrymandering. Turkey is split into 87 electoral districts, which elect a certain number of Members to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey; the Grand National Assembly has a total of 600 seats, which each electoral district allocated a certain number of MPs in proportion to their population. The Supreme Electoral Council of Turkey conducts population reviews of each district before the election and can increase or decrease a district's number of seats according to their electorate. In all but four cases, electoral districts share the same name and borders of the 81 Provinces of Turkey.
The exceptions are İzmir, İstanbul and Ankara. Provinces electing between 19 and 36 MPs are split into two electoral districts, while any province electing above 36 MPs are divided into three; as the country's four largest provinces, İzmir and Bursa are divided into two subdistricts while Ankara and İstanbul is divided into three. The distribution of elected MPs per electoral district is shown below. In 2018, total MPs are increased from 550 to 600. Due to this increase, several districts had more MPs. Ankara and Bursa divided into one more electoral district due to this increase. However, Bayburt is represented with one less MP in 2018, making it the only district with a single MP. A total of eight electoral districts had their number of MPs adjusted since the 2011 general election by the electoral council, as listed below; the two electoral districts of Ankara had their boundaries changed. The number of voters in each province was announced on 17 May 2015. In total, there are 53,741,838 voters in the provinces, which corresponds to 97,712 voters for each MP.
However, because of the electoral system, this was not distributed to the provinces. In İzmir, where voters per MP was the highest, 118,669 votes corresponded to an MP, whereas in Bayburt, 27,089 voters were represented by an MP. Two factors caused this more than fourfold disparity. Namely, the electoral l
Presidential Seal of Turkey
The Presidential Seal of Turkey is the official seal of the President of Turkey. It has a large 16-pointed Sun which symbolizes the Republic of Turkey in the center, surrounded by 16 five-pointed stars, symbolizing the 16 Great Turkish Empires in history, it is the oldest presidential seal in the world still in use. The roots of the Presidential Seal and Presidential Flag of Turkey go back to September 1922, when a similar flag was used on the automobile that took Mustafa Kemal Atatürk to İzmir during the final days of the Turkish National Campaign; this flag is on display at the Anıtkabir Museum in Ankara. The Presidential Flag's characteristics and proportions were legalized with the Sancak Talimatnamesi law on October 22, 1925. According to this law, the Presidential Seal's dimensions were defined as "70cm x 70cm", while the Sun in the center was a 20-pointed star containing 10 sharp-edged and 10 oval-edged light rays; the "70cm x 70cm" dimensions of the Presidential Seal were maintained in the Turkish Flag Law of May 29, 1936.
The number of the light rays in the Sun of the Presidential Seal were reduced to 16 in order to symbolize the 16 Turkic states in history, with another legal amendment on February 18, 1978. The seal and flag took their current shape and proportions with the final legal amendment on January 25, 1985; the 16 Great Turkic Empires are a Pan-Turkist concept introduced in 1969 by Akib Özbek. Its association with the seal was introduced under president Kenan Evren. Prior to this assertion, the 16 stars had been taken as representing sixteen medieval beyliks which succeeded the Seljuk Empire; the 16 stars are aligned with a 22.5 degree angle. One edge of each star points to the center of the sun; the unit of measurement of the seal is the diameter of the circle around the edges of any one of the 16 stars. The lengths of the rays of the sun, the distance between the rays and the edges of the stars and the diameter of the outmost circle are determined as multiples of the unit A. Emblems of Turkey President of Turkey List of Presidents of Turkey Presidential Complex, the official residence of the President of Turkey