It has been widely reported that the constitutional amendments approved by the April 2017 referendum will allow Erdoğan to stay in office until 2029:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has narrowly won a referendum to expand presidential powers, which could keep him in office until 2029.

"Turkey referendum: Erdogan wins vote to expand presidential powers." BBC News. BBC, 16 Apr. 2017. Web. 18 Apr. 2017.

However, apparently the new constitution limits the president to two five-year long terms:

The president will have a five-year tenure, for a maximum of two terms.

Erdoğan is, of course, currently serving his first term. Assuming he wins in 2019, that will be his second and last term.

How can he stay in office until 2029 then? Is there an exception in the new constitution that would allow him a third term, or does his current term simply not count?


1 Answer 1


The term limits will be reset if the new constitution goes into effect.

As the current President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is serving his first term, 2014 - 2019, he can run for another term under the current constitution.

However, since his term is reset, he can run for another 2 terms - 2019 - 2024 and 2024 - 2029, thus he can potentially serve until 2029 if he wins the 2 elections.

This is partly due to the fact that the new "executive president" is seemingly a "new office" created as the constitution is amended. In other words, he has served 1 term under the current constitution but has not served any terms under the new constitution, thus he can serve another 2 terms.

This article by CNN states:

The changes limit any one president to two terms, although under certain circumstances they could seek a third. The revision means Erdogan could hit the reset button on his tenure, potentially winning the next two elections and serving until 2029.

(emphasis mine)

While this article by Reuters states:

Under the constitution's current two-term limit and provided he wins the 2019 election, Erdogan would be able to rule until 2024 only. But under the proposed executive presidency, the clock would reset, allowing him another two terms.

(emphasis mine)

  • 9
    To put it slightly differently: he is currently serving his first term as president under the old constitution, but he has never served as president under the new constitution (obviously), so he still has two terms to go. Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 8:28
  • 4
    Well played, Reccep... :'/
    – Gewure
    Commented Apr 18, 2017 at 10:43

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