Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
1Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
TURKEY’S SEPTEMBER 12, 2010, REFERENDUM

TURKEY’S SEPTEMBER 12, 2010, REFERENDUM

Ratings: (0)|Views: 6|Likes:
Published by GLORIA Center
This article considers the reasons for and the overall impact of holding a national referendum in Turkey on September 12, 2010, for a series of constitutional amendments passed by the governing AKP (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi or Justice and Development Party). Although the measures were publically accepted with nearly 58 percent approval, the prospects for the drafting of a new constitution based on political consensus to replace the military-created 1982 document remain weak. While the opposition parties and the judiciary perceive the reforms as a government initiative to politicize the judiciary, the AKP is focused on taming a politically motivated “juristocracy.”


BY SINAN CIDDI DECEMBER 22, 2011
http://www.gloria-center.org/2011/12/turkey%E2%80%99s-september-12-2010-referendum/
This article considers the reasons for and the overall impact of holding a national referendum in Turkey on September 12, 2010, for a series of constitutional amendments passed by the governing AKP (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi or Justice and Development Party). Although the measures were publically accepted with nearly 58 percent approval, the prospects for the drafting of a new constitution based on political consensus to replace the military-created 1982 document remain weak. While the opposition parties and the judiciary perceive the reforms as a government initiative to politicize the judiciary, the AKP is focused on taming a politically motivated “juristocracy.”


BY SINAN CIDDI DECEMBER 22, 2011
http://www.gloria-center.org/2011/12/turkey%E2%80%99s-september-12-2010-referendum/

More info:

Categories:Types, Research
Published by: GLORIA Center on May 28, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

05/14/2014

pdf

text

original

 
 
Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol. 15, No. 4 (December 2011) 39
TURKEY’S SEPTEMBER 12, 2010, REFERENDUM
By Sinan Ciddi*
This article considers the reasons for and the overall impact of holding a national referendum inTurkey on September 12, 2010, for a series of constitutional amendments passed by the governing AKP (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi or Justice and Development Party). Although the measures were publically accepted with nearly 58 percent approval, the prospects for the drafting of a newconstitution based on political consensus to replace the military-created 1982 document remainweak. While the opposition parties and the judiciary perceive the reforms as a government initiativeto politicize the judiciary, the AKP is focused on taming a politically motivated “juristocracy.”
On September 12, 2010, approximately 77percent of Turkey’s eligible voting populationtook part in a national referendum for a seriesof constitutional amendments proposed by thecountry’s governing AKP (Adalet veKalkinma Partisi or Justice and DevelopmentPartyAKP). These included a package of 30amendments to the country’s current 1982constitution, promulgated by a military juntaduring the country’s last coup-led government.On the whole, it can be argued that thesechanges will help the country’sdemocratization drive by shedding restrictionsplaced upon individual and associationalliberties by a military government.Referendums in Turkey are rare occurrencesbut have been utilized by the AKP twice sinceassuming office in November 2002 (and priorto this, in 2007). Of the participating voters,approximately 58 percent were in favor of 30amendments to significant portions of theconstitution, which among other things wouldaffect the composition of, membership, andappointment to the highest judicial bodies inthe country.While the substance and mechanics of thereferendum are interesting from theperspective of electoral politics, the verynecessity and reason for holding thereferendum is more significant in this case.Following eight years of incumbency, it canbe argued that the AKP’s ability to legislatehas been increasingly challenged by stateinstitutions such as the judicial branch, asopposed to opposition political parties. Anumber of important legislative and/orconstitutional changes proposed by the AKPhave been challenged and in some instancesstruck down by Turkey’s Constitutional Court.Furthermore, the court was instrumental inpursuing a narrowly unsuccessful closure caseagainst the AKP in 2007. It also succeeded toannul key constitutional amendments thatwould have allowed for the wearing of headscarves in universities.On account of the AKP’s comfortablemajority in the national assembly, the mainopposition parties, namely the CHP(Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi or
 
RepublicanPeople’s Party) and the MHP (MilliyetciHareket Partisi or Nationalist Action Party),have been unable to prevent the passage of legislation they do not support. Thus, theyhave had to resort to alternative legislativechecks. For example, the CHP and thepresident have referred legislation to theConstitutional Court for annulment. Inaddition, the court itself has heard a closurecase against the AKP, based on argumentspresented by the special state prosecutor.The central concern of this paper is toaccount for the reasons a referendum was heldand its overall significance. At the basic level,a referendum was held because AKPparliamentarians lacked the minimum numberof votes necessary to amend the constitution.
1
 
 
Sinan Ciddi
 
40 Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol. 15, No. 4 (December 2011)President Abdullah Gul, therefore, referred thematter to a public referendum.
2
The AKP,which drafted the amendments, pointed outthat the proposed changes were vital forimproving Turkey’s democratic standards.
3
 This article, however, argues that theamendments were put before a nationalreferendum in order to
constrain
the ability of the judicial branch to delay, even strike down,the legislative initiatives of the governingAKP.As a result of the referendum, the principleof separation of powers has been strained.Until the end of President Ahmet NecdetSezer’s term in 2007, it was believed that heand the Constitutional Court were the onlyremaining forces engaged in scrutinizing theactivities of the legislature and the government,both of which were dominated by the AKP.President Sezer played in important part insending back numerous pieces of legislation toparliament for reconsideration, and referring arecord number for annulment to theConstitutional Court.
4
These were actions thatfall under the constitutional job definition of the office of the president.Sezer has since been replaced by AbdullahGul, who served as foreign minister in the firstAKP government (2003-2007). With thechange of guard, as the main opposition party,the CHP has led the charge. The CHP hasargued that the AKP is seeking to usedemocratic procedures and institutions tosubvert democratic rule and impose its ownhegemony. After having replaced Sezer with“one of their own” (Gul), there is little to stopthe AKP from churning out any laws it sees fit.Moreover, opposition parties in parliamentlack the number of votes to prevent thepassage of laws, and the office of the presidentis manned by a former AKP member.
5
Bothformer CHP chairman and its currentchairman (Deniz Baykal
6
and KemalKilicdaroglu
7
) suspect the AKP’s actualintentions are slowly to transform Turkey intoa type of Muslim democracy by usingdemocratic procedures to remove allimpediments standing in their way.On the opposite side, both the AKP andsome liberal circles of political thought havestressed that the office of the president and the judicial branch have become politicizedthemselves and have overstepped theirconstitutional mandates.
8
With respect to theoffice of the president, the AKP continuouslyasserted that Sezer was using his powers toundermine the will of the democraticallyelected representatives of the people (in whichsovereignty rests as stated by theconstitution).
9
The judiciary, mainly withreference to the high courts--ConstitutionalCourt (
 Anayasa Mahkemesi
), High Court of Appeals (
Yargitay
), Council of State(
 Danistay
), the Court of Numbers (
Sayistay
),and the Supreme Board of Judges andProsecutors (
 Hakimler ve Savcilar Yuksek Kurulu
, SBPJ)--has been accused of makingpolitical rulings against AKP-sponsored lawsand engaging in politics. The overall result isthat following eight years of AKP rule, theprinciple of separation of powers is undersevere strain, to the extent that both thegovernment and the named state institutionsare locked into a perpetual battle to underminethe authority of the other. Ultimately, duringthe AKP era, the political battleground hasbeen less defined by parties competing againstone another, and more by the incumbentfighting against state institutions.
THE SEPTEMBER 12 REFERENDUM
The referendum date may have beenintentionally set by the Higher ElectoralCouncil (
Yuksek Secim Kurulu
) to coincidewith the thirtieth anniversary of the country’slast coup d’état. The procedural explanationfor holding the referendum was simple: Inorder for a constitutional amendment to pass,it must conform to the requirements of article175 of the 1982 constitution. Thus, if anamendment receives over 367 parliamentaryvotes (two-thirds of 550), the president caneither send it back for reconsideration, submitit to a national referendum, or sign it into law.If the proposal receives between 330 and 367votes (three-fifths and two-thirds majority),the president can either call for a nationalreferendum or send it back to parliament forreconsideration. In either case, in the event of 
 
Turkey’s September 12, 2010, Referendum
 
Middle East Review of International Affairs, Vol. 15, No. 4 (December 2011) 41a public referendum, the proposed amendmentmust obtain a simple majority to be accepted.In contrast, if the president were to send itback to parliament, a minimum of two-thirds(367/550) of the votes would be necessary tosend it back for the president’s secondconsideration.The AKP proposed a total of 30amendments, affecting some 23 articles of theconstitution. During voting in parliament, theproposed amendments consistently receivedbetween three-fifths to two-thirds majority. OnMay 7, 2010, after two rounds of parliamentary voting, the final package wasaccepted, with 336 votes in favor and 73opposition votes.
10
While the MHP votedagainst the changes, the CHP and the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (Baris veDemokrasi Partisi, BDP) did not participate inthe voting and boycotted the event.
11
The AKPrelied entirely on its own votes to pass thepackage and referred it for presidentialapproval.After a few days of deliberations, Guldecided to submit the changes to a publicreferendum.
12
The constitutional amendmentscovered a broad array of issues. They can bebroadly split into two categories (see Table 1).The most controversial of these relate to thecomposition of and appointment to the top judicial institutions, namely the ConstitutionalCourt and the Supreme Board of Prosecutorsand Judges (SBPJ), which oversees theappointment of judges and prosecutors acrossthe country. The other amendments weredemocratization measures, primarily intendedto improve the rights of workers as well aswomen and children, removing specialprivileges for the military, and making itincreasingly difficult to close down politicalparties. 
Amendments to the 1982 Constitution
 
Article #
 
Description
 
20
Privacy of Information
41
Protection of the Family: protect children from sexual abuse and violence
51
Allowing workers to belong to more than one trade union
53
Collective bargaining and agreement rights to state employees
145
Military Law: Criminal activity by personnel to be tried in civilian courtsMilitary courts can only try cases related to service related mattersCivilians cannot be tried in military courts in times of peace
146
Constitutional Court: Increase of members from 11 to 1714 to be appointed by President (with restrictions)3 to be appointed by TBMM (National Assembly)Term limited appointments: 12 years
147
Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (SBPJ)
148
Minister of Justice and the Permanent Secretary = permanent members of the board
159
Increase of members to 21 actual and 10 auxiliary
Prov. 15
Repeal of constitutional protection against 1980 junta members
Table 1: Proposed Constitutional Amendments (highlights)
13
 These constitutional amendments areextensive and far-reaching. Since thepromulgation of the constitution in 1982,many of the articles have been amended. Yetthe AKP’s intention since the mid-2000s hasbeen to draft a new constitution, rather thanconstantly amend the present one. In the run-up to the June 2011 general elections, the AKP

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->