The Constitution of the Republic of Turkey
Costituzione della Repubblica di Turchia (1982).
PREAMBLE (As amended on October 17, 2001)
In line with the concept of nationalism and the reforms and principles introduced by the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Atatürk, the immortal leader and the unrivalled hero, this Constitution, which affirms the eternal existence of the Turkish nation and motherland and the indivisible unity of the Turkish state, embodies;
The recognition that no protection shall be accorded to an activity contrary to Turkish national interests, the principle of the indivisibility of the existence of Turkey with its state and territory, Turkish historical and moral values or the nationalism, principles, reforms and modernism of Atatürk and that, as required by the principle of secularism, there shall be no interference whatsoever by sacred religious feelings in state affairs and politics; the acknowledgment that it is the birthright of every Turkish citizen to lead an honourable life and to develop his or her material and spiritual assets under the aegis of national culture, civilization and the rule of law, through the exercise of the fundamental rights and freedoms set forth in this Constitution in conformity with the requirements of equality and social justice;
II. Characteristics of the Republic
The Republic of Turkey is a democratic, secular and social state governed by the rule of law; bearing in mind the concepts of public peace, national solidarity and justice; respecting human rights; loyal to the nationalism of Atatürk, and based on the fundamental tenets set forth in the Preamble
IV. Irrevocable Provisions
The provision of Article 1 of the Constitution establishing the form of the state as a Republic, the provisions in Article 2 on the characteristics of the Republic, and the provision of Article 3 shall not be amended, nor shall their amendment be proposed.
X. Equality before the Law (As amended on May 22, 2004)
All individuals are equal without any discrimination before the law, irrespective of language, race, colour, sex, political opinion, philosophical belief, religion and sect, or any such considerations.
Men and women have equal rights. The State shall have the obligation to ensure that this equality exists in practice.
No privilege shall be granted to any individual, family, group or class.
State organs and administrative authorities shall act in compliance with the principle of equality before the law in all their proceedings.
FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES
I. Nature of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms
Everyone possesses inherent fundamental rights and freedoms which are inviolable and inalienable.
The fundamental rights and freedoms also comprise the duties and responsibilities of the individual to the society, his or her family, and other individuals.
II. Restriction of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms
ARTICLE 13. (As amended on October 17, 2001)
Fundamental rights and freedoms may be restricted only by law and in conformity with the reasons mentioned in the relevant articles of the Constitution without infringing upon their essence. These restrictions shall not be in conflict with the letter and spirit of the Constitution and the requirements of the democratic order of the society and the secular Republic and the principle of proportionality.
III. Prohibition of Abuse of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms
ARTICLE 14. (As amended on October 17, 2001)
None of the rights and freedoms embodied in the Constitution shall be exercised with the aim of violating the indivisible integrity of the state with its territory and nation, and endangering the existence of the democratic and secular order of the Turkish Republic based upon human rights.
No provision of this Constitution shall be interpreted in a manner that enables the State or individuals to destroy the fundamental rights and freedoms embodied in the Constitution or to stage an activity with the aim of restricting them more extensively than stated in the Constitution.
The sanctions to be applied against those who perpetrate these activities in conflict with these provisions shall be determined by law.
IV. Suspension of the Exercise of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms (As amended on May 22, 2004)
In times of war, mobilization, martial law, or state of emergency, the exercise of fundamental rights and freedoms can be partially or entirely suspended, or measures may be taken, to the extent required by the exigencies of the situation, which derogate the guarantees embodied in the Constitution, provided that obligations under international law are not violated.
Even under the circumstances indicated in the first paragraph, the individual’s right to life, and the integrity of his or her material and spiritual entity shall be inviolable except where death occurs through lawful act of warfare; no one may be compelled to reveal his or her religion, conscience, thought or opinion, nor be accused on account of them; offences and penalties may not be made retroactive, nor may anyone be held guilty until so proven by a court judgment.
V. Status of Aliens
The fundamental rights and freedoms of aliens may be restricted by law in a manner consistent with international law.
RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF THE INDIVIDUAL
I. Personal Inviolability, Material and Spiritual Entity of the Individual (As amended on May 22, 2004)
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 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.
VI. Freedom of Religion and Conscience
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 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 Opinion
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.
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.
SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC RIGHTS AND DUTIES
I. Protection of the Family
ARTICLE 41. (As amended on October 17, 2001)
The family is the foundation of the Turkish society and based on the equality between the spouses.
The state shall take the necessary measures and establish the necessary organisation to ensure the peace and welfare of the family, especially where the protection of the mother and children is involved, and recognizing the need for education in the practical application of family planning.
II. Right and Duty of Training and Education
No one shall be deprived of the right of learning and education.
The scope of the right to education shall be defined and regulated by law.
Training and education shall be conducted along the lines of the principles and reforms of Atatürk, on the basis of contemporary science and educational methods, under the supervision and control of the state. Institutions of training and education contravening these provisions shall not be established.
The freedom of training and education does not relieve the individual from loyalty to the Constitution.
Primary education is compulsory for all citizens of both sexes and is free of charge in state schools.
The principles governing the functioning of private primary and secondary schools shall be regulated by law in keeping with the standards set for state schools.
The state shall provide scholarships and other means of assistance to enable students of merit lacking financial means to continue their education. The state shall take necessary measures to rehabilitate those in need of special training so as to render such people useful to society.
Training, education, research, and study are the only activities that shall be pursued at institutions of training and education. These activities shall not be obstructed in any way.
No language other than Turkish shall be taught as a mother tongue to Turkish citizens at any institutions of training or education. Foreign languages to be taught in institutions of training and education and the rules to be followed by schools conducting training and education in a foreign language shall be determined by law. The provisions of international treaties are reserved.
POLITICAL RIGHTS AND DUTIES
III. Provisions Relating to Political Parties
A. Forming Parties, Membership and Withdrawal From Membership in a Party
ARTICLE 68. (As amended on July 23, 1995: 4121/6 Article)
Citizens have the right to form political parties and in accordance with the established procedure to join and withdraw from them. One must be over 18 years of age to become a member of a party.
Political parties are indispensable elements of democratic political life.
Political parties can be formed without prior permission and shall pursue their activities in accordance with the provisions set forth in the Constitution and law.
The statutes and programmes, as well as the activities of political parties shall not be in conflict with the independence of the state, its indivisible integrity with its territory and nation, human rights, the principles of equality and rule of law, sovereignty of the nation, the principles of the democratic and secular republic; they shall not aim to protect or establish class or group dictatorship or dictatorship of any kind, nor shall they incite citizens to crime.
Judges and prosecutors, members of higher judicial organs including those of the Court of Accounts, civil servants in public institutions and organizations, other public servants who are not considered to be labourers by virtue of the services they perform, members of the armed forces and students who are not yet in higher education institutions, shall not become members of political parties.
The membership of the teaching staff at higher education institutions in political parties is regulated by law. This law cannot allow those members to assume responsibilities outside the central organs of the political parties. It also sets forth the regulations which the teaching staff at higher education institutions shall observe as members of political parties.
The principles concerning the membership of students at higher education institutions to political parties are regulated by law.
The state shall provide the political parties with adequate financial means in an equitable manner. The financial assistance to be extended to political parties, as well as procedures related to collection of membership dues and donations are regulated by law.
B. Principles to be Observed by Political Parties
ARTICLE 69. (As amended on July 23, 1995 and October 17, 2001)
The decision to dissolve a political party permanently owing to activities violating the provisions of the fourth paragraph of Article 68 may be rendered only when the Constitutional Court determines that the party in question has become a centre for the execution of such activities.
The activities, internal regulations and operation of political parties shall be in line with democratic principles. The application of these principles is regulated by law.
Political parties shall not engage in commercial activities.
The income and expenditure of political parties shall be consistent with their objectives. The application of this rule is regulated by law. The auditing of the income, expenditure and acquisitions of political parties by the Constitutional Court as well as the establishment of the conformity to law of their revenue and expenses, methods of auditing and sanctions to be applied in the event of unconformity shall also be regulated by law. The Constitutional Court shall be assisted in performing its task of auditing by the Court of Accounts. The judgments rendered by the Constitutional Court as a result of the auditing shall be final.
The dissolution of political parties shall be decided finally by the Constitutional Court after the filing of a suit by the office of the Chief Public Prosecutor of the Republic.
The permanent dissolution of a political party shall be decided when it is established that the statute and programme of the political party violate the provisions of the fourth paragraph of Article 68.
The decision to dissolve a political party permanently owing to activities violating the provisions of the fourth paragraph of Article 68 may be rendered only when the Constitutional Court determines that the party in question has become a centre for the execution of such activities. A political party shall be deemed to become the centre of such actions only when such actions are carried out intensively by the members of that party or the situation is shared implicitly or explicitly by the grand congress, general chairmanship or the central decision-making or administrative organs of that party or by the group’s general meeting or group executive board at the Turkish Grand National Assembly or when these activities are carried out in determination by the above-mentioned party organs directly.
Instead of dissolving them permanently in accordance with the above-mentioned paragraphs, the Constitutional Court may rule the concerned party to be deprived of State aid wholly or in part with respect to intensity of the actions brought before the court.
A party which has been dissolved permanently cannot be founded under another name.
The members, including the founders of a political party whose acts or statements have caused the party to be dissolved permanently cannot be founders, members, directors or supervisors in any other party for a period of five years from the date of publication in the official gazette of the Constitutional Court’s final decision and its justification for permanently dissolving the party.
Political parties which accept financial assistance from foreign states, international institutions and persons and corporate bodies shall be dissolved permanently.
The foundation and activities of political parties, their supervision and dissolution, or their deprival of State aid wholly or in part as well as the election expenditures and procedures of the political parties and candidates, are regulated by law in accordance with the above-mentioned principles.
FUNDAMENTAL ORGANS OF THE REPUBLIC
I. The Turkish Grand National Assembly
F. Provisions Relating to Membership
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.”
CHAPTER TWO. THE EXECUTIVE
i. Department of Religious Affairs
ARTICLE 136. The Department of Religious Affairs, which is within the general administration, shall exercise its duties prescribed in its particular law, in accordance with the principles of secularism, removed from all political views and ideas, and aiming at national solidarity and integrity.
PROVISIONAL ARTICLE 2.
After the Turkish Grand National Assembly has convened and assumed its functions, the Council of National Security shall become the Presidential Council for a period of six years, and the members of the Council of National Security shall acquire the title of members of the Presidential Council. The oath they took on 18 September 1980, as members of the Council of National Security shall remain valid. Members of the Presidential Council shall enjoy the rights and immunities conferred by the Constitution on members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly. The legal existence of the Presidential Council shall terminate on the expiry of the period of six years.
The functions of the Presidential Council shall be as follows:
a. to examine laws adopted by the Turkish Grand National Assembly and submitted to the President of the Republic concerning: the fundamental rights and freedoms and duties, the principle of secularism, the preservation of the reforms of Atatürk, national security and public order set forth in the Constitution, the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, international treaties, the sending of Armed Forces to foreign countries and the stationing of foreign forces in Turkey, emergency rule, martial law and the state of war, and other laws deemed necessary by the President of the Republic, within the first ten days of the period of fifteen days granted to the President of the Republic for his consideration;
b. on the request of the President of the Republic and within the period specified by him:
to consider and give an opinion on matters relating to the holding of new general elections, the exercise of emergency powers and the measures to be taken during a state of emergency, the management and supervision of the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, the training of the youth and the conduct of religious affairs;
c. According to the request of the President of the Republic, to consider and investigate matters relating to internal or external security and such other matters as are deemed necessary, and to submit its findings to the President of the Republic.