Turkey: Rule by Decree
Written by Turkish political analyst / blogger, Gürkan Özturan:
With the constitution written during military rule in Turkey in 1982, the president of the republic – then a top general – was awarded the power to issue Presidential Decrees to manage duties such as secretarial institutionalization, organization, governance, working principles, and appointment of officers. Erdo?an, the first popularly elected president of Turkey, has now used this power to change aspects of the institution of the presidency itself by presidential decree.
In previous years, when Erdo?an was prime minister, the Turkish electorate became accustomed to the term “law decree,” which does not require parliamentary debate or even a vote, but can be declared simply by approval of the cabinet. A presidential decree, on the other hand, does not even require the approval of cabinet ministers; moreover it is out of the reach of judicial controls, which makes the decree unchallengeable. Having been created with an unchallengeable presidential decree, the new cabinet has strong chances of being “above the law” with its untouchable qualities, bypassing the constitutional and judicial checks on lawfulness.
Erdo?an’s Shadow Cabinet
The decree that establishes a shadow cabinet is declared through a secret order, which means the official papers do not refer to it. The current organization of the presidency puts four bodies under the president’s responsibilities: financial and economic affairs, institutional communications, information technologies, and human resources. These directorates answer directly to the President and will take guidance from his office.
With the new decree, the number of these institutions has been increased to 13, including such directorates as:
National Security Directorate
Foreign Affairs Directorate
Social Affairs Directorate
Investment Tracking Directorate
Communications Central Directorate