Founding Turkey’s ‘new state,’ ignoring the constitution
The recent statement of a former high-level member of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), in which he said “a new state is being constructed to replace the Turkish Republic,” drew widespread condemnation. But the man was only speaking the truth.
A new state is being constructed, and in this entity the constitution is considered non-existent. The functions that should be undertaken by parliament are being carried out by the executive.
The 121st article of the constitution, which was once in force, stipulated that decrees with the force of law could be enacted after the declaration of the state of emergency. The government is now ruling the country according to this article of the constitution.
But this also stipulates that the decree laws be enacted only on issues necessitated by the emergency situation. So let’s consider the regulations passed by the two most recent state of emergency decrees.
- Construction of a prison over forest lands owned by the state.
- A tax exemption on the purchase of firearms by the Justice Ministry.
- The obligation for companies that have the right to vote in elections for the chambers of trade and industry to have been founded at least two years before the vote.
- Lifting the condition of being enrolled with the social security institution (SGK) to benefit from drug abuse treatment, free of charge.
- Enabling the trustees of companies seized by the Saving Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) to establish new companies.
- Enabling public officials to resign under the state of emergency and martial law.
- Bringing the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) under the authority of the president and enabling the president to appoint its undersecretary and deputy undersecretaries.
- Establishment of the National Intelligence Coordination Council.
- Introducing the requirement of the president’s consent for the MİT undersecretary to testify as a witness.
- Increasing the maximum possible pre-trial detention period of coup suspects to seven years.
- Gathering the institutions of the Health Ministry under one roof.
- Enabling state universities to open academic centers and social facilities abroad.
These are not regulations that are related to the conditions that necessitated the state of emergency. All these matters should be carried out by parliament.
Clearly, we can see the executive gradually replacing parliament.
Unknowns about the coup night
Top military commanders, including Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar, were apprehended by pro-coup soldiers during the July 2016 coup attempt and taken to the Akıncı air base in Ankara.
According to the prosecutor’s Akıncı base indictment, as the failure of the coup attempt became clear a negotiation for “surrender” started between Akar and the coup plotters and they reached an agreement on the conditions of surrender.
One of the conditions was that they surrender to a military prosecutor under conditions applied to military personal. The protocol about this can be found in the Akıncı indictment.
Details of this protocol have been published in the media, and although it sheds some light on what happened after it became clear that the coup attempt had failed, we still don’t know what else was discussed between Akar and the coup plotters during these moments.
Another interesting dimension is the fact that three military prosecutors who came to the Akıncı base to detain the coup plotters, upon the instruction of the coup plotters, were sympathizers of the U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen. All three were subsequently dismissed from the military and one of them is now still on the run.