The Executive Branch

The executive branch in Turkey has a dual structure. It is composed of the President of the Republic and the Council of Ministers (Cabinet).

The President

The President of the Republic is the Head of the State. He/she represents the Republic of Turkey and the unity of the Turkish nation. The President's term of office is five years. The President can serve no more than two terms. Turkish citizens of at least forty years of age are eligible to be elected President by the TGNA's secret ballot process. They can be either deputies who have received a higher education or those who are qualified to be elected a deputy. The election of the President of the Republic shall be concluded within sixty days before the term of office of the incumbent President of the Republic expires, or within sixty days after the Presidency falls vacant for any reasons.

In presidential elections conducted by universal suffrage, the candidate who receives the absolute majority of the valid votes shall be elected President of the Republic. If this majority cannot be obtained in the first ballot, the second ballot shall be held on the second Sunday following this ballot. The two candidates who receive the greatest number of votes in the first ballot can run for the second ballot, and the candidate who receives a majority of valid votes shall be elected President of the Republic.

If one of the candidates who earns the right to appear on the second ballot dies or loses his or her eligibility, the second ballot shall be conducted by substituting within the vacant candidacy in conformity with the ranking on the first ballot. If only one candidate remains for the second ballot, this ballot shall be conducted as a referendum. If the candidate receives most of the votes, he or she shall be elected President of the Republic.

The term of office of the incumbent President of the Republic shall continue until the President-elect takes office.

The procedures and principles concerning presidential elections shall be regulated by law.

The President of the Republic has functions and authority related to the legislative, executive and judicial fields. His/her functions in the legislative fields are to convene the TGNA when necessary, to publish laws and when deemed necessary, to send them back to the Parliament for discussion, to hold a referendum in Constitutional amendments when he/she considers it necessary, to file suit with the Constitutional Court claiming a violation of Constitutional law, to issue decrees with the power of law and regulate the internal workings of the Parliament and to decide when new TGNA elections are necessary. The executive duties of the President are: to appoint or accept the resignation of the Prime Minister, to appoint or dismiss Ministers in the event that he deems it necessary, to chair meetings of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) or summon the Council to meet under his chairmanship, to appoint accredited envoys to represent the Turkish State abroad and receive representatives of foreign states, to ratify and publish international agreements, to act as the Commander-in-Chief of the Turkish Armed Forces, to appoint the Chief of General Staff, to convene the National Security Council and to chair meetings of the Council, to proclaim martial law or impose a state of emergency by a decree to be decided by the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) meeting under his chairmanship, and to issue decrees with the power of law, to approve decrees as signatory, to commute or pardon the sentences of certain convicts on the grounds of old age, chronic illness or infirmity, to appoint the members and President of the State Auditory Council, to conduct investigations, enquires and research through the State Auditory Council, to select the members of the Council of Higher Education, and to appoint University Chancellors. Duties and authority of the President related to the judiciary are to appoint: members of the Constitutional Court, one fourth of the members of the Supreme Court of Appeals, members of the Supreme Military Appeals Tribunal, members of the Supreme Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors.

No appeal may be made to any legal body, including the Constitutional Court, against decrees and presidential orders signed directly by the President of the Republic.

The President of the Republic may be impeached for high treason.

Presidents of the Republic of Turkey:

  • Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (October 29, 1923 - November 10, 1938)
  • Ismet Inönü (November 11, 1938 - May 22, 1950)
  • Celal Bayar (May 22, 1950 - May 27, 1960)
  • Cemal Gürsel (May 27, 1960 - March 28, 1966)
  • Cevdet Sunay (March 29, 1966 - March 28, 1973)
  • Fahri Korutürk (April 6, 1973 - April 06, 1980)
  • Kenan Evren (September 18, 1980 - November 08, 1989)
  • Turgut Özal (November 09, 1989 - April 17, 1993)
  • Süleyman Demirel (May 16, 1993 - May 16, 2000)
  • Ahmet Necdet Sezer (May 16, 2000 - August 27, 2007)
  • Abdullah Gül (August 28, 2007 - August 28, 2014)
  • Recep Tayyip Erdo─čan (August 28, 2014 - present)

The Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers (Cabinet)

The Council of Ministers (Cabinet) consists of the Prime Minister, designated by the President of the Republic from members of the TGNA, and various ministers nominated by the Prime Minister and appointed by the President of the Republic. Ministers can be dismissed from their duties by the President or upon the proposal of the Prime Minister when deemed necessary. When the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) is formed, the government's program is read at the TGNA and a vote of confidence is taken. Members of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) are responsible for the execution of general policies. The Ministers assume two kinds of political responsibilities. First is responsibility for the general policy of the government, shared equally by all ministers. Second, each minister is individually responsible for matters within the jurisdiction of his/her own ministry and for the acts of his/her subordinates.

The fundamental duty of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) is to formulate and to implement the internal and foreign policies of the state. The Council is accountable to the Parliament in execution of this duty.

The Constitution also includes national defense in the section related to the Council of Ministers (Cabinet). The Office of the CommanderinChief, the Office of the Chief of the General Staff and the National Security Council form the authorative organizations for national defense. The National Security Council consists of the Prime Minister, the Chief of the General Staff, the Minister of National Defense, the Minister of Interior, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Commanders of the Army, Navy and the Air Force and the General Commander of the Gendarmerie. The NSC makes decisions related to the determination, establishment and application of national security policy. The Council of Ministers (Cabinet) gives priority to National Security Council decisions where measures deemed necessary for the preservation of the existence and independence of the state, the integrity and indivisibility of the country and the peace and security of the society are concerned.

Duties and Responsibilities of the Prime Minister

The Prime Minister is responsible for ensuring the Council of Ministers (Cabinet) functions in a harmonious manner. He/she supervises implementation of government policy. The Prime Minister is the de facto head of the executive branch. Each Minister is accountable to the Prime Minister who in turn ensures that Ministers fulfill their functions in accordance with the Constitution and its laws.

The Administration

The administration entity, its structure and functions, is regulated by law. The organization and functions of the administration are based on the principle of centralization and local administration.

Central Administration

Turkey is divided into provinces based on geography, economic conditions and public service requirements. Provinces are further divided into administrative districts.

Local Administrations

Local administrative bodies are public entities established to meet the common needs of the local inhabitants of provinces, municipalities, districts and villages. The decisionmaking organs are chosen by the electorate prescribed in the law. The structure of the local administrations is defined by law.


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