The constitutional changes approved by the recent referendum will fundamentally change Turkey's system of government from parliamentary to presidential and give unprecedented new powers to the President.

What are the Presidential check and balances in the new constitution? Is there a system in place to ensure President Erdoğan will not abuse his new-found powers?


1 Answer 1


The Parliament will continue to act as a check & balance mechanism on the executive. However, its check-and-balance mechanism on the presidency would be reduced.

Article 87: Parliament now detects cabinet and Vice President with Parliamentary Research, Parliamentary Investigation, General Discussion and Written Question. Interpellation is abolished and replaced with Parliamentary Investigation. Vice President needs to answer Written Questions within 15 days.

Source: Description of proposed amendments, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_constitutional_referendum,_2017

Members’ of parliament right to submit oral and written questions as a part of their auditing process would also be amended—with the MPs only allowed to put forward “written submission” (article 6, amending article 98) to the vice-presidents and the ministers, and not to the president. These would elevate the president above legislative scrutiny—a major and dramatic break from past practice.

Source: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2017/04/13/the-turkish-constitutional-referendum-explained/

Article 89: To overcome a presidential veto, the Parliament needs to adopt the same bill with an absolute majority (301).

Source: Description of proposed amendments, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_constitutional_referendum,_2017

Another change is that the parliament would need an absolute majority of its entire membership (50 percent + 1) to re-pass a bill that the president sent back to the parliament for reconsideration, whereas the current constitution allows the parliament to bypass the president’s objections by a simple majority of a quorum (article 16/C, amending article 89). This would diminish the body’s decisionmaking capacity, making it more difficult to move in a direction that is not sanctioned by the president.

Source: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2017/04/13/the-turkish-constitutional-referendum-explained/

Article 105: Parliament can open parliamentary investigation with an absolute majority (301). Parliament discusses proposal in 1 month. Following the completion of Discussion, Parliamentary investigation can begin in Parliament with a hidden three-fifths (360) vote in favor. Following the completion of investigations, the parliament can vote to indict the President with a hidden two-thirds (400) vote in favor.

Source: Description of proposed amendments, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_constitutional_referendum,_2017

The process of impeachment would also be conducted differently. The parliament could petition for an investigation into an alleged crime with an absolute majority; it would then need 3/5 backing to move forward with such a petition, instead of a simple majority. A 15-member commission would then be appointed to produce a report, which would need a 2/3 majority to be sent to the supreme court for a final review (article 9, amending article 105). As such, it would become much more cumbersome to take actions against the president.

Source: https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2017/04/13/the-turkish-constitutional-referendum-explained/

This article by The Washington Post shows how the checks and balances could be bypassed as the President appoints many key personnel in the government.

Power would be severely concentrated in the hands of the presidency, with almost no checks and balances. Some Turks worry that the new constitution may even allow him to appoint his sons and sons-in-law as vice presidents and even successors.

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