Turkey Government and Politics

After the constitution of 1982, Turkey is a unified state, democratic republic.

Turkey Country Flag


The head of state, the president, until 2007 was elected by the National Assembly for seven years and for only one term. In 2007, after a referendum, the National Assembly passed a constitutional amendment that introduced direct popular elections for the president. After this, the president is elected for five years, with the possibility of re-election for a further period.

The constitutional amendment came after a tussle between the AKP party and the opposition parties over the indirect election of president in 2007. The Kemalist opposition blocked a boycott of the election of the AKP candidate, Abdullah Gül, after the military made a coup threat on its websites. The opposition to Gül was largely about his religious style and that his wife wore a hijab, headscarf, which was illegal to wear in the National Assembly and in official contexts. It was considered a mockery of the secular constitution of the secularists. As a strategic response, the AKP, through a referendum, introduced direct presidential elections, and at the same time reduced the term of the National Assembly. They also lowered the figure of representatives who decide the quorum in the National Assembly. Following this referendum, Gül was elected president with the AKP majority. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan became the first directly elected Turkish president in 2014.

The president appoints the prime minister and the government, the chief judges and the heads of the National Bank and the national broadcast. He can dissolve the National Assembly, declare the state of emergency and rule through decrees. The president’s position is relatively strong, although the responsibility for the current government rests with the government, which is based on and is accountable to the national assembly.

The president can delay and veto legislative changes, and Erdoğan’s predecessors used these remedies against the AKP’s amendments. Furthermore, the President may convene meetings of the National Assembly at his own discretion. In addition to Erdogan’s actual changes to the practice, he also wants to strengthen the presidency by amending the Constitution. Check Countryaah for other countries that start with T.

National Assembly and parties

The National Assembly has 550 members who are elected in the general election for four years. The threshold limit of 10% means that important groups are excluded from the national assembly, but at the same time gives the government good governance opportunities.

The 2002 elections led to major upheavals, in which almost all the former parties lost their representation, and the moderate Islamic Party for Justice and Development (AK or AKP) gained a pure majority. The provisions of the Constitution that Turkey is a secular state have on several occasions led to religious parties being banned, but they have always resurfaced under new names. The military also has a strong position and has repeatedly intervened in politics.

The National Security Council

In 2003, the National Security Council, which was previously dominated by the military, received a majority of civilian members. This happened after a power struggle between the AKP and the military, in a framework of reforms to achieve EU membership.

Political situation

Turkey is characterized by strong tensions linked to its ideological orientation and history. The conflict over secularism and the political, cultural and social role of Islam, the strong doubts about Turkish membership in the EU, the strained relationship with some neighboring countries, especially Greece, and the relationship with the Kurdish minority are areas that have political power.

Following the election of Erdoğan as president in 2014, many feared his desire to exercise a stronger presidential power. He has already begun leading several government meetings, which he is entitled to in the constitution written by the military coup makers in 1982. Erdoğan is considered by most commentators to be the undisputed leader of the AKP, and fears that the prime minister’s position will be entirely subordinate to his authority.

Administrative division

Turkey is divided into 81 provinces and 2074 municipalities. Although there has been some decentralization of authority, Turkey is a fairly centrally controlled country.


Ottoman law was based on Islamic principles and dates back to the Middle Ages, although it was gradually modified through Western influence. After the regime change in 1923, the court was also reorganized and from 1926 a western legal system was introduced, influenced by French, Swiss and Italian law. Gradually, the justice system was adapted to Turkish conditions, but it remained basic Western secular.

The Supreme Ordinary Court is a court of appeal (right of disposal). Otherwise, the ordinary judicial system includes limited- jurisdiction peace courts, other courts of first instance (one-man courts) and, for serious criminal cases, central courts consisting of a president and two additional judges. It is a constitutional court of its own; it can also serve as national law. Furthermore, it is its own administrative and military courts.

In connection with Turkey’s application for EU membership, in the years after 2000, a number of new laws and new jurisprudence have been introduced which to a greater extent safeguard human rights, women’s rights and the rights of minorities (Kurds). The death penalty was abolished in 2002.

Presidents of Turkey

Overview of the Presidents of Turkey from the Republic was founded in 1923 and until today.

Period President
1923-1938 Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk)
1938-1950 Ismet Inönü
1950-1960 Celal Bayar
1961-1966 Kemal Gürsel 1
1966-1973 Cevdet Sunay
1973-1980 Fahri Korutürk
1980 Ihsan Sabri Çaglayangil (acting)
1980-1989 Kenan Evren 2
1989-1993 Turgut Özal
1993-2000 Süleyman Demirel
2000-2007 Ahmed Necdet Sezer
2007-2014 Abdullah Gül
2014- Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

1) 1960–1961 as leader of the National Unity Committee

2) Head of the National Security Council 1980–1982, President 1982–1987

Prime Ministers of Turkey

Overview of the Prime Ministers of Turkey from the Republic was created in 1923.

Period Prime minister
1923-1924 Mustafa Ismet 1)
1924-1925 Ali Fethi Bey
1925-1937 Ismet Inönü
1937-1939 Celal Bayar
1939-1942 Refik Saydam
1942-1946 Sükrü Saracoglu
1946-1947 Recep Peker
1947-1949 Hasan Saka
1949-1950 Semsettin Günaltay
1950-1960 Adnan Menderes
1960-1961 Cemal Gürsel
1961-1965 Ismet Inönü
1965 Ali Suat Hayri Ürgüplü
1965-1971 Süleyman Demirel
1971-1972 Nihat Erim
1972-1973 Ferit Melen
1973-1974 Naim Talu
1974 Bülent Ecevit
1974-1975 Sadi Irmak
1975-1977 Süleyman Demirel
1977 Bülent Ecevit
1977-1978 Süleyman Demirel
1978-1979 Bülent Ecevit
1979-1980 Süleyman Demire l
1980-1983 Bülent Ülüsü
1983-1989 Turgut Özal
1989-1991 Yildirim Akbulut
1991 Mesut Yilmaz
1991-1993 Süleyman Demirel
1993-1996 Tansu Çiller
1996 Mesut Yilmaz
1996-1997 Necmettin Erbakan
1997-1999 Mesut Yilmaz
1999-2002 Bülent Ecevit
2002-2003 Abdullah Gül
2003-2014 Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
2014-2016 Ahmet Davutoğlu
2016- Binali Yıldırım

Turkey Head of Government

You may also like...