INFORMATION ABOUT THE COURT OF TURKEY
The Turkish Constitutional Court was established by the 1961 Constitution. It was modelled on the European model of posteriori constitutional review. The power to review the constitutionality of laws was endowed solely with the Constitutional Court by the 1961 Constitution.
The system of constitutional review established by the 1961 Constitution was preserved in the 1982 Constitution with minor changes. In the 1982 Constitution, the Constitutional Court, being one of the highest constitutional organs, is on a par with the Grand National Assembly and the Executive and placed as the first judicial organ among "the High Courts". Articles 146-153 of the Constitution lay down in detail the composition, duties, working methods of the Constitutional Court and other issues concerning constitutional review. The Constitutional Court carried out its duties until 2011 according to the Law No 2949 (dated 10 November 1983).
Since the composition, powers and structure of the Court were changed considerably by the constitutional amendments in 2010, a new law was enacted in 2011. The new Law on Establishment and Rules of Procedures of the Constitutional Court (No 6216, 30 March 2011) stipulates its organization, structure, proceedings and disciplinary proceedings. The Law No. 6216 vests in the Plenary of the Court the authority to regulate its internal rules. Therefore, by-laws on the organization and procedure of the Constitutional Court are established by the Internal Regulation of the Court.
2017 Constitutional Amendment
Under the 2017 amendment, the number of Justices has been reduced to fifteen, and the quorum for the Plenary altered to ten.
The Constitutional Court is also vested with the power to examine any claim raised on the unconstitutionality in the form or substance of the Presidential-decrees.
In accordance with the amendment, the President of the Republic, the two parliamentary groups having the greatest number of members in the Turkish Grand National Assembly and a minimum of one-fifth of the total number of members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly have the right to apply for an annulment action to the Constitutional Court with the claim of unconstitutionality in the form or substance of articles or provisions of laws, Presidential decrees, the Rules of Procedure of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey.
In addition, the Military Court of Appeals and the High Military Administrative Court have been abolished with the amendment. Hence, no Justice will be appointed anymore from those Courts once the term of office of the elected Justices from the Military Court of Appeals and the High Military Administrative Court expires.
In accordance with the amendment, the Constitutional Court has authority to try, in the capacity of the Supreme Criminal Tribunal, the President of the Republic, the Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, the vice-presidents, ministers, the Presidents and Justices of the Constitutional Court, Court of Cassation and Council of State, the Chief Prosecutors, the Deputy Chief Prosecutor of the Republic, the President and members of the Council of Judges and the Supreme Court of Accounts for crimes regarding their duties. The Chief of General Staff and commanders of the Army, Navy and the Air Forces will also be tried for crimes regarding their duties by the Supreme Criminal Tribunal.
Surnames and first names of the President and other members
Prof. Dr. Zühtü ARSLAN- President
Mr. Hasan Tahsin GÖKCAN- Deputy President
Mr. Kadir ÖZKAYA- Deputy President
Prof. Dr. Engin YILDIRIM- Judge
Mr. Hicabi DURSUN- Judge
Mr. Muammer TOPAL- Judge/ President of the Court of Jurisdictional Disputes
Mr. Muhammed Emin KUZ- Judge
Mr. Rıdvan GÜLEÇ- Judge
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Recai AKYEL- Judge
Prof. Dr. Yusuf Şevki HAKYEMEZ- Judge
Mr. Yıldız SEFERİNOĞLU- Judge
Mr. Selahaddin MENTEŞ- Judge
Mr. Basri BAĞCI- Judge
Mr. İrfan FİDAN- Judge
Mr. Kenan YAŞAR- Judge
History of constitutional justice
BEFORE THE CONSTITUTION OF 1961
The first marks of constitutionalism appeared during the first half of the 19th century in the Ottoman Empire. Kanun-ı Esasi (Ottoman Basic Law) was the first written constitution of Turkish history adopted on the 23th of December 1876. It established the first parliament of the country and enshrined individual rights and liberties.
The earliest versions of Turkish Constitutions, namely, Kanun-ı Esasi, the Constitutions of 1921 and 1924 did not prescribe provisions on a constitutional review mechanism. It is not surprising considering the fact that the European model of constitutional adjudication has developed after World War II.
However, there were some provisions which bear hints of constitutionality review in the Kanun-ı Esasi. For instance, Article 115 adopted the principle of the supremacy of constitution by stating “No provision of the Constitution can, under any pretext whatsoever, be suspended or neglected.” Similarly, Article 64 prescribed not a legal but a political review of constitutionality by stating “The Senate examines the bills or budget transmitted to it by the Chamber of Deputies. If in the course of the examination of a bill the Senate finds a provision contrary to the sovereign rights of the Sultan, the liberty, the Constitution, the territorial integrity of the Empire, the internal security of the country, the interests of the defense of the country, or to the morality, it rejects the bill definitively by a vote assigning its reasons; or it sends the bill back, accompanied by its observations, to the Chamber of Deputies, demanding to amend or modify it in the sense of those observations.”
The Constitution of 1921 was the founding Constitutionof the Republic without any referral to the constitutionaladjudication. In the subsequent Constitution of 1924,the supremacy of the constitution was explicitlyrecognized in Article 103, which stipulated that: “Noneof the provisions of this Constitution may be arbitrarilymodified on any pretext; neither may the enforcementof any provision be suspended. No law shall be incontradiction to the Constitution.” However, the 1924Constitution had not introduced any mechanism ofconstitutionality review yet.
THE CONSTITUTION OF 1961
The Constitution of 1961 was the fundamental textestablishing the Turkish Constitutional Court.
With Article 8 of the 1961 Constitution stating “Lawsshall not be in conflict with the Constitution. Theprovisions of the Constitution shall be fundamentallegal principles binding the legislative, executiveand judicial organs, administrative authorities andindividuals”, the superiority and binding force ofthe Constitution was emphasized once again. ThisConstitution empowered the Constitutional Court toexercise constitutional review of laws under Article145 and subsequent articles thereof. The Court startedoperating in April 1962 following the enactment of theLaw No. 44 on Establishment and Rules of Proceduresof the Constitutional Court.
At that time, only a few countries in Europe (Austria,Germany and Italy) had constitutional adjudicationmechanism. Therefore, the Turkish ConstitutionalCourt is one of the oldest constitutional courtsestablished in Europe, which was a considerabledevelopment in terms of the rule of law.
THE CONSTITUTION OF 1982
The system of constitutional review establishedby the 1961 Constitution was preserved in theConstitution of 1982 with minor changes. Articles 146-153 of the 1982 Constitution laid down in details thecomposition, powers and duties, working methodsof the Constitutional Court and other aspects of theconstitutionality review.
With the constitutional amendment of 2010, themechanism of individual application was introducedinto the Turkish legal system and the powers,composition and structure of the Court were alteredaccordingly. Following this amendment, accordingto the provisions of Article 149 of the Constitution, anew law entitled “Code on Establishment and Rulesof Procedures of the Constitutional Court” (“the LawNo. 6216”) replacing the Law No. 2949 (law dated 10November 1983) was enacted on 30 March 2011. TheLaw No. 6216 specifies the new rules of functioningand procedures of the Turkish Constitutional Court,including the individual application mechanism.
For instance, the individual application mechanismprovides an effective means to ensure protection ofthe fundamental rights and freedoms of individuals.Through this mechanism, individuals in Turkeyhave been granted a remedy on domestic level foralleged violations of their fundamental rights. TheConstitutional Court is vested with power to examineand adjudicate such applications for the protection ofindividual rights and freedoms.
With the more recent constitutional amendmentof 2017, the political form of government has beentransformed from parliamentary to presidential, andthe jurisdiction of the Court is expanded to reviewthe constitutionality of Presidential decrees. ThePresidential decrees are subject to both abstract andconcrete norm review.
With the amendment of 2017, the judiciary, in additionto “independence” has been defined as “impartial” inthe new text. Also, the military court system has beenabolished and, accordingly, the number of members ofthe Court has been reduced from seventeen to fifteen.
Constitution of the Republic of Turkey of 1982 (with amendments in 2017)
Code on Establishment and Rules of Procedures of the Constitutional Court (Law No: 6216
Date of Ratification: 30/03/2011)
Internal Regulations of the Constitutional Court (Based on the Code no. 6216, 30/3/2011; Date and Issue of the Official Gazette: 12/7/2012,no: 28351)
Constitutions (Including old)
Constitution of 1982 (with amendments in 2017)
Constitution of 1961
Constitution of 1924
Constitution of 1921
Ottoman Basic Law (Kanun-I Esasi) of 1876
Organic Texts Relating To The Institution (Including old Text)
Jurisprudence (Important Only)
Research Center (If it exists)
CONSTITUTIONAL JURISDICTION RESEARCH CENTER
AYAM was founded in 2018 so as to conduct research activities in the field of constitutional jurisdiction, perform comparative law studies on the relevant issues, compile the outstanding principal decisions/judgments of the Court, issue annual reports pertaining to the Court’s activities, issue periodicals and non-periodicals in the field of constitutional jurisdiction, organize summer and winter trainings for students studying law, and hold national and international congresses, symposiums, workshops, round-table meetings and similar scientific activities. As a bridge between theory and practice, AYAM aims at ensuring contribution by and between these two fields. The primary publication activity performed by AYAM is the Journal of “Constitutional Jurisdiction”. This Journal is a publication which has been initially issued on a regular basis since 1984 and including the presentations delivered during the symposium organized on the occasion of the foundation anniversary of the Constitutional Court. Since 2019, it has become a scientific pre-reviewed journal, published semi-annually, following its issue no. 36(1). Thereby, whereas an issue of the Journal embodies merely the peer reviewed articles, the other issue published within the same year includes both such articles and the presentations delivered in the symposium. The Journal includes theoretical and comparative studies, case-law and practices on the constitutional law and human rights law, as well as other studies in the other branches of law related to these fields. The issues of the Journal published in 2021 are no. 38(1) and 38(2). The issue no. 38(2) is titled “Right to Respect for Private Life within the scope of Professional Life”. AYAM compiles the Court’s leading decisions/judgments in the individual application mechanism in a book titled “Selected Judgments”. This book published in two volumes every year includes the Court’s decisions/judgments that are significant for the development of case-law and stand as a precedent as well as are related to matters of public concern. Besides, AYAM publishes the press releases of the decisions/judgments on individual applications upon classifying them by their subject matters in order to make the Court’s case-law more accessible and easier to follow. The “Constitutional Court’s Annual Report” issued by AYAM embodies statistical information on the Court’s affairs and national and international activities of the Court, alongwith the press releases of outstanding decisions/judgments on constitutionality review and individual application.Apart from such kind of publishing activities, AYAM has also organized scientific meetings on the constitutional jurisdictionand human rights.
The Constitutional Court of the Republic of Turkey
AhlatlıbelMahallesiİncekŞehitSavcı Mehmet Selim KirazBulvarı No: 4 Postal Code: 06805 Çankaya / Ankara TURKEY
Phone: +90 (312) 463 73 00
Fax: +90 (312) 463 74 00